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FDA and dairy industry
spar over testing of milk

Each year, federal inspectors find illegal levels of antibiotics in hundreds of older dairy cows bound for the slaughterhouse. Concerned that those antibiotics might also be contaminating the milk Americans drink, the Food and Drug Administration intended to begin tests this month on the milk from farms that had repeatedly sold cows tainted by drug residue.

But the testing plan met with fierce protest from the dairy industry, which said that it could force farmers to needlessly dump millions of gallons of milk while they waited for test results. Industry officials and state regulators said the testing program was poorly conceived and could lead to costly recalls.

In response, the FDA postponed the testing, and now the two sides are sparring over how much danger the antibiotics pose and the best way to ensure that the drugs do not end up in the nation’s milk supply.

“What has been served up, up to this point, by Food and Drug has been potentially very damaging to innocent dairy farmers,” said John J. Wilson, a senior vice president for Dairy Farmers of America, the nation’s largest dairy cooperative. He said that that the nation’s milk was safe and that there was little reason to think that the slaughterhouse findings would be replicated in tests of the milk supply.

High court orders Emanuel’s name back on ballot — for now

CHICAGO — The Illinois Supreme Court puffed life back into Rahm Emanuel’s mayoral campaign Tuesday when it restored his name to the city’s ballots, at least for now, and agreed to decide whether he should be allowed to run for mayor.

The decisions arrived at a dizzying pace, only a day after a panel of the Illinois Appellate Court had ordered Emanuel’s name stricken from the ballot, saying his time in Washington as White House chief of staff meant he failed to meet a requirement of residing in Chicago for a year before the Feb. 22 election.

The Supreme Court’s orders were seen as a positive sign for Emanuel (the court could have chosen to skip the case altogether), but the justices still have to consider the merits of the case itself.

The Supreme Court will study briefs already submitted to the lower court, rather than wait for new ones, and will entertain no oral arguments. It is uncertain how quickly a decision will emerge, but deadlines are looming; early voting, for instance, begins Monday. City elections officials, too, found themselves trapped in the tangle of the legal fight. With absentee ballots due to be mailed out as early as Friday, officials had begun printing ballots — without Emanuel’s name, per the appellate court’s Monday ruling — at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

—Monica Davey and John Schwartz, The New York Times