FDA reports Continued Fall in Residues in Raw Milk

US - Only 0.021 per cent of all truckloads of raw milk tested positive for medicinal animal drug residues in fiscal year 2011, according to the Food and Drug Administration's recently released National Milk Drug Residue Database (NMDRD) results.
calendar icon 9 March 2012
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The US dairy industry tests every truckload of raw milk prior to use. All truckloads of raw milk testing positive for violative drug residues are disposed of and not used to produce food for human consumption. The amount of milk disposed of in fiscal years 2009 through 2011 continues a decline that began in fiscal year 2008, according to the NMDRD.

"Stronger on-farm animal care programmes and intense testing at the dairy plant are continuing to show impressive decreases in the FDA-sponsored NMDRD database testing results for medicinal animal drug residues," said Jonathan Gardner, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs.

"The programme of testing every truckload of raw milk and disposing of those testing positive is very successful in maintaining confidence in dairy products and in the dairy industry."

Dairy farmers and veterinarians use animal medicines under strict controls to treat sick dairy cattle. Treated cattle are removed from regular milk production and are not returned to the milking herd until their milk is free of any medicinal residues. When used according to label directions, medicines should not result in any residues in the milk. In rare instances, however, mix-ups in treatment records and animal identification at the dairy farm may lead to residues in the raw milk supply. Testing of all bulk milk trucks is designed to catch these rare occurrences.

This NMDRD annual report is separate from the current Animal Drug Residue Assignment that the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Veterinary Medicine launched in January. That assignment’s purpose is to determine if farms with previous animal drug residue violations found in dairy cattle at slaughter may be a result of farm management practices that could also lead to drug residues in milk. The FDA/CVM assignment is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

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