British Columbia

B.C. dairy farmers fined for antibiotics in milk

Eleven B.C. dairy farms were fined a total of $65,000 after antibiotics were detected in the milk they were sending to processors.

Industry uses three levels of testing to keep antibiotics out of the food supply

All milk in Canada is tested for antibiotics. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Eleven B.C. dairy farms were fined a total of $65,000 after antibiotics were detected in the milk they were sending to processors over the past year.

According to the B.C. Dairy Association, the farmers paid an average penalty of $6,000 each and were not paid for the contaminated milk. The tests were conducted between August 2015 and July 2016

Spokesperson Trevor Hargreaves said the industry uses three levels of testing to keep antibiotics out of the food supply.

"If an animal is ill and needs antibiotics, then it is treated with antibiotics. That is basic animal welfare. But then the animal is removed from supplying milk for a certain period of time while the antibiotics run the course of the system."

The farmer then tests the animal's milk before putting the animal back in the supply chain.  All the farm's milk is then tested again when a truck arrives at the farm to pick it up, and then one more time by the processor when they take delivery.

Hargreaves says the testing assures anyone buying organic or regular milk is not getting antibiotics.

"If you are buying milk in Canada, you can be assured you are getting an extremely high quality product.

"It does differ in the U.S., which is a much more liberal scenario when it comes to hormones and antibiotics. But in Canada we are extremely careful about it."

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