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Survey of Antibiotic Residues in Milk Finds Continuing Improvement

April 4, 2016

Dairy farmers continued in 2015 to improve their already stellar track record of keeping antibiotic residues out of the milk supply, with the most recent national survey finding that 99.99% of all bulk milk tankers had no violative levels of animal antibiotic drug residues. On-farm vigilance in following drug withdrawal times has led to a steady decline in detectable antibiotic residues, with 2015’s figure of 0.012% of violative tankers declining from an already low level of 0.038% in 2005 – a decline of nearly 70% in the last decade. All milk loads are tested for antibiotics, and any tanker that tests positive for a drug residue is rejected before entering a dairy plant and does not enter the market for human consumption.

These figures are based on information reported to FDA’s National Milk Drug Residue Data Base by state regulatory agencies under the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments. Data are reported on the extent of the national testing activities, the analytical methods used, the kind and extent of the animal drug residues identified, and the amount of contaminated milk that was removed from the human food supply.