Antibiotics are an important tool to prevent, control and treat disease in cattle, including dairy calves. To protect human and animal health, all antibiotics used in food-producing animals go through a rigorous testing process before being approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Judicious use of antibiotics, including careful attention to pre-slaughter withdrawal periods, is an important way to promote animal welfare and maintain the safety of the beef supply.

Most medications, including antibiotics, administered to livestock have established meat withdrawal times, so it is important to closely follow label guidelines to prevent residue violations.

The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank ( provides withdrawal guidelines for antibiotics and other drugs used in food-animal production. This is a good resource for checking the meat-withdrawal period for antibiotics used in dairy calves.

Keeping meat residue-free is an important aspect of the Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) program.DACQA is a voluntary, national certification program intended to enhance and demonstrate quality animal care practices, which assure food safety, quality and value as well as enhance consumer confidence in the milk and beef products that are harvested from cattle on America’s dairy farms.