May 10, 2019

Further Tetracycline Screening Likely Won’t Be Required

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) wrapped up its meeting earlier this month, with test results suggesting that further tetracycline screening will not be required.


NCIMS had conducted a pilot program that screened one of every seven tanker loads of milk from July 1, 2017 through December 31, 2018. More than 400,000 tankers of milk were tested, resulting in only 8 or 9 positive tests.


“At this time the tetracycline pilot is done, and there is no current expectation to continue testing,” says Jamie Jonker, National Milk Producers Federation vice president of sustainability and scientific affairs.


“The tetracycline positive rate of 0.002% (1 per 50,000 tankers) is one-fifth that of beta lactam at 0.01% (1 per 10,000 tankers), which is really good news,” he says. “Ultimately we need to wait for the final report and evaluation of data, but I think the data demonstrates it’s not necessary to test every tanker.”


NCIMS will now turn its attention to Gentamicin, but no specific time frame for testing has been set, says Jonker.


The NCIMS Conference meets every other year. It was held in St. Louis, Mo. from April 26 through May 1, with more than 400 federal, state and dairy industry leaders in attendance. The Conference took up about half of the 74 proposals submitted.


Among those that passed was a proposal on automated milking systems, which will bring more certainty that farms with robotic milkers are in compliance with the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). It also resolved a conflict that was occurring for milk plants that produced both Grade A and non-Grade A dairy products, and how those plants are to be inspected to meet both PMO and Food Safety Modernization Act requirements.