The MDA Dairy and Meat Inspection programs play an important role in supporting the agency’s work to prevent drug residues. Inspectors monitor for conditions on farms that could lead to accidental residues. They also take samples of meat and milk products to test for drug residues before those products enter the food supply. Regulatory staff are also involved when drug residues are discovered and an investigation is needed to determine the source and the cause of the residue.
- Conduct on-farm inspections of dairy producers, including drug storage and labeling practices
- Inspect processing facilities
- Oversee testing of milk for antibiotics
- Inspect slaughter and processing facilities to ensure animals are handled humanely and food is produced in a safe and hygienic manner
- Sample both suspect and random carcasses to test for drug residue violations during slaughter inspections
- Sample and test every load of milk entering milk processing facilities
- Sample and test milk from individual farms
- Sample and test finished dairy products
- Sample and test carcasses in slaughter plants
When residues are found in meat or milk products, MDA Dairy and Meat Inspectors respond quickly. Livestock producers, feed mills, and veterinarians can face stiff consequences for allowing residues to occur. These range from monetary penalties to losing permission to sell milk or meat, either temporarily or permanently. The MDA has the authority to suspend or revoke licenses or permits from feed mills and dairy farms if they are not handling veterinary drugs responsibly.