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The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene's Proposal to create a baseline of radiological levels found in Wisconsin's raw milk and by extension, dairy products


Radiochemistry: Analytical Track Food Defense 2020
Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene
FDA Laboratory Flexible Funding Model
PAR-20-105 Project of Radiological Discipline
Establishing a radiological baseline for the dairy products of Wisconsin
The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) is Wisconsin’s public and environmental
health laboratory. As part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the WSLH is committed to
exploring new ideas and developing new programs to benefit the state and nation. The
WSLH’s Radiochemistry unit has been a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Food
Emergency Response Network (FERN) for over twelve years. This agreement has enabled the
WSLH radiochemistry department to maintain and enhance its testing capability and capacity
for rapid and accurate response in the event of radiological food emergencies. The department
has experience in gamma and alpha spectrometry, gas proportional counting, and liquid
scintillation counting. The Radiochemistry unit uses only approved Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and FDA FERN Cooperative Agreement Program methodologies. The unit is
certified and inspected by the EPA, a complete quality assurance and quality control program is
maintained. This laboratory is not a regulatory laboratory for human or animal food, nor does it
perform animal diagnostic laboratory services.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin
produced over 30 billion pounds of milk last year and is the country’s largest producer of dairy
products. With the cessation of the EPA RadNet milk sampling program in November 2014,
WSLH’s Radiochemistry unit is seeking to fill this deficit in the nation’s food monitoring by
testing Wisconsin’s raw milk to further the FDA’s efforts to prevent foodborne exposures to
contaminants from a radiological event. The program will focus on analysis of raw
unpasteurized milk samples from the state’s dairy plants for gamma emitting isotopes,
including 137Cs and 131I. All results obtained for this project would be reported to the nationally
integrated science system FERN. Future goals include increasing the number of dairy plants
beyond the initial scope of this project and expanding to incorporate alpha and beta emitters,
such as americium, plutonium, and 90Sr.

Schauer, James J
University of Wisconsin - Madison
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