Concerns over drought-induced aflatoxin in milk has prompted the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey to call for state screening and testing of milk starting today and running indefinitely. This Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship news release says the order requires milk processors to screen all Grade A and Grade B farm bulk milk pickup tankers and farm can milk loads for aflatoxin on a weekly basis.
“We were well aware that aflatoxin could be an issue this year due to the historic drought conditions,” Northey said. “Now that farmers are starting to harvest silage, and corn in some cases, it is appropriate to begin this screening process to make sure our milk supply remains safe.”
A statewide corn sampling program has also been instituted in Iowa. Federal Food and Drug Administration guidelines for acceptable aflatoxin levels in corn say concentrations of greater than 20 ppb cannot be used for human consumption and cannot be used for feed for dairy animals or for immature livestock of others species. Corn containing aflatoxin at 100 ppb or less can be used in breeding cattle and swine and mature poultry. Corn with 200 ppb or less can be used with finishing swine greater than 100 lbs. in weight and corn with 300 ppb or less can be used in finishing beef cattle. Iowa officials are asking the FDA to allow for corn with more than 20 ppb of aflatoxin to be blended with non-aflatoxin containing corn for animal feed. Similar requests have been granted in the past.