Decreasing the incidence of antibiotic residues in dairy and meat products is a topic that has garnered a good deal of attention for decades now. It is an issue that has also seen some promising resolution. Levels in sampling nationally have decreased. For instance, according to the National Milk Drug Residue Data Base, “0.044% of all samples were positive for a drug residue, down from 0.101% in 1995”. So, as Pamela Ruegg of the University of Wisconsin asks, “So, why the worry about residues?”
Ruegg points out that further attention needs to be paid to the topic because of potential serious health effects that can be associated with residues. Allergies and concerns about drug-resistant bacteria are primary concerns that have entered into the arena of the debate along with other health effects. Ruegg also discusses that due to the overwhelmingly common usage of antibiotics in farm operations due to conditions like mastitis that effect cows on dairy and beef farms.
For producers, a grave concern comes in the form of possible profits being poured away down the drain. Producers are most commonly the ones that take the hit when tainted milk and meat is found. Such a multitude of effects brings together various populations such as farmers, government agencies, processors, medical professionals, and customers. Much of the blame for the issues comes down to recording mistakes, identification mistakes, communication issues, and a lack/absence of proper training.
Nelson-Jameson itself offers a tool to assist in securing some piece of mind in the process of properly assuring your product is safe and ready for the market. Our Delvo and PremiTests detect a wide array the drugs that can compromise your product.
Aspergillus flavus in standing corn, SOURCE: University of Missouri
The drought this summer has affected the country in the short term; there is also no doubt that long-term effects will be felt for some time to come. According to Clemson University, “Drought and high air temperatures raise concerns over the potential of aflatoxin contamination of the corn crop that may impact the usability of much of the remaining drought-stricken crop.” Aflatoxins are the result Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus: molds that attack corn both in storage and in the field. Drought heightens possible alarm because, “One characteristic of drought is the substantially higher air temperatures. Most fungi flourish between 68 and 86 degrees but A. flavus has a much broader temperature range and an optimum growth temperature in the range of 96 degrees.”
Aflatoxins can affect both humans and animals in the food chain. According to Cornell University’s Department of Animal Science, “Aflatoxin-contaminated corn and cottonseed meal in dairy rations have resulted in aflatoxin M1 contaminated milk and milk products, including non-fat dry milk, cheese, and yogurt.” In humans, negative health effects range from cancers possibly resulting from the long-term carcinogenic properties of the toxins, to the appearance of acute aflatoxicosis in individuals (namely reported in third world countries). In animals, there is also a great deal of concern due to acute effects and long-term health effects of such exposure, as well.
Drought conditions throughout the United States, including in the Midwest have highlighted the need for further attention to be paid to this threat to humans and animals. The final effects on this year’s harvest are yet to be completely seen, but the favorable conditions for the production of aflatoxins bring heightened awareness to this year’s harvest. This is another difficult pill to swallow in a summer of already great challenge and frustration for many farmers and for those watching the food supply closely.
Testing, of course, is a way to prevent aflatoxins from reaching humans and animals. To meet the demand for testing methods in this time of concern, Nelson-Jameson will be selling FDA approved Aflatoxin Reveal™ test kits, and Idexx™ test kits.
Reveal Aflatoxin M1 Test Kit
SNAP Aflatoxin M1 Test Kit
For questions on aflatoxins and test kits please contact our experienced technical support staff at 800-826-8302 or email@example.com.
“Mad Cow Disease:” this may be a reference that many American consumers might associate with the U.K. and the 1990s, or the 2003 American outbreak. April of 2012 might change those associations. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known commonly as “Mad Cow Disease,” was thrust into the American mindset again after the fourth confirmed case in the U.S. in the past fifteen years was discovered in a dairy cow from California.
The cow in question, according to USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford, “was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health.” According to Clifford, the cow tested “positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.” Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack called the case “atypical,” and offered that such a case could be attributed to genetics.
Though an isolated case, there is concern about the potential fallout. According to the CDC the threat to consumers is miniscule (estimated at one in 10 billion, “even after consuming contaminated products”). Often markets have not taken much comfort in such estimates. For instance, after the 2003 case “Beef exports dropped by more than 70%”.
As of the publication date of this article, it looks as if the beef industry will not be too adversely affected. Negative reports centered on South Korea. There, according to CNN, “at least one major South Korean retailer” has pulled American beef from their shelves. Other markets, such as the European Union and Mexico, at this juncture, appear undeterred, while there may be further conversation/concern from countries such as Taiwan and Russia. The following weeks will likely highlight further details of the international reaction, but the USDA has stated this confirmed case of BSE will likely not effect trade significantly.
The USDA asserts that it will continue to monitor BSE concerns within the food supply. Currently, they test approximately “40,000 cows a year.” More information on BSE can be found here.
You know spring is near as the snow starts to melt and temps begin to rise. Another indication of spring is all the farm shows and producer meetings that are taking place. We recently had a booth at the Shoppes at Wood Ridge Farm Show in Marshfield, Wisconsin. It is always fun getting out and talking with farmers.
Nelson-Jameson handles products that help farmers manage issues that affect the profitability of their farms, specifically antibiotic and SCC test kits. These topics have become of great concern with farmers as the FDA is stepping up testing frequency for antibiotics and SCC regulations are, in the process, of being lowered.
Nelson-Jameson will be exhibiting at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) Conference March 13-14 in Madison, Wisconsin. Our farm products specialist will also be attending the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Annual Meeting in Kansas City, MO on March 20-21 and be in DSM’s booth representing the Delvotest antibiotic tests. Then April 10-11, we will have a booth at the Indiana Milk Quality Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. If you are attending any of these events, make sure to look the respective booths up and say “Hi”. We are always looking to speak with farmers about other tests that they feel would have value for their operations.
For more information about these shows and other trade shows we attend, visit our Events page.