Report finds safety gap in controls at milk plants
Gaps in safety controls at Irish milk-processing plants have been highlighted in a Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) report.
The recent audit report found that the Department of Agriculture failed to notify its local district veterinary office of repeated findings of antibiotic traces in milk from one farmer.
This meant there was no follow-up inspection of the farm during 2013 - even though six consecutive non-compliant antibiotic results had been found.
Antibiotic levels in milk are very strictly controlled to prevent consumers being exposed to animal medicines which could cause adverse reactions or result in essential human medicines becoming ineffective.
The FSAI report criticised the lack of internal communication in the department which meant no follow-up investigation took place at local level.
"The audit team was informed by the District Veterinary Office that had they been aware of these results, this would have triggered an on-farm inspection in order to assess the herd owner's control and usage of veterinary medicines where the withdrawal periods for these would have been checked," it said.
The report also noted that the herd owner had been visited by the milk purchaser, but had not been de-listed as an approved supplier.
The findings are in an FSAI report published in February 2015 which audited the Department of Agriculture's controls over liquid milk processing plants.