Food Safety

FDA Claims Dairy Farmers Are Slipping Illegal Antibiotics Into Milk

Time to switch to almond milk?
Time to switch to almond milk? Photo: Shutterstock

Drinking a glass of milk should feel clean and wholesome, but according to a new FDA report, milk might contain an unauthorized antibiotic — or six. The agency spot-checked several thousand dairy farms and claims that it found a half dozen drugs in a small but nevertheless alarming number of samples.

Why it’d take so long to discover the antibiotics? Since these drugs aren’t supposed to be used on dairy cows at all, routine tests don’t even check for them. The drugs include ciprofloxacin and sulfamethazine — both “totally illegal” to give to dairy cows — and others that are never supposed to enter the food supply. Farmers are motivated to use the drugs because they keep the animals healthy, and allow them to grow bigger and faster.

While the percentage of samples with drugs is rather low, the fear is that antibiotics like ciprofloxacin can cause major problems with bone and muscle growth. And to make matters worse: Since the FDA survey was “for research purposes” only, samples were anonymous. That means, at least for right now, the agency can’t conduct follow-up investigations on particular farms.

[Salt/NPR]

FDA Claims Dairy Farmers Are Slipping Illegal Antibiotics Into Milk