The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued proposals to adopt EU-wide measures designed to prevent antibiotic residues entering the food chain via raw milk and other dairy products.
Manufacturers and other stakeholders have until 28 December this year to submit their views on the proposals, with the FSA requiring comment from stakeholders and small businesses in the dairy industry on their reaction to the rules.
The findings will be used to produce an industry guide to advise on how best to comply with the latest regulatory requirements on the presence of antibiotics, while also ascertaining the impact on processors of a possible further restriction on the milk supply.
The proposals would bring UK requirement into compliance with EU-wide regulation outlining hygiene standards for raw milk and dairy products.
The measures are meant to ensure food and beverage manufacturers do not allow raw milk containing antibiotic residues to reach the market. Processors could have to conduct more testing throughout their supply chains.
The UK proposals were drawn up in collaboration with an independent group of experts on antibiotics in milk. The group includes representatives from both the dairy industry and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, which worked to find the best methods of protecting the raw milk supply.
To determine the effects of the legislation on dairy production, the FSA plans to set the reporting frequency that would be required for positive antibiotic test results on milk samples.
Additionally, the FSA also seeks advice on whether it is the responsibility of a producer, or processors to notify antibiotic test failures to the regulators.
In cases when prelimary tests indicate milk samples might be contaminated during normal monitoring, the processor or producer will begiven two options.
Managers can choose to reject the milk and consign it for disposal according to EU requirements. They can also choose to carry out fuller tests on the suspect batch.