Dairy farmers continued in 2012 to improve their already stellar track record of keeping antibiotic residues out of the milk supply, with the most recent national survey finding that only 0.017 percent of all bulk milk tankers, or 1 in 6,000 loads, showed any sign of an animal antibiotic drug residue.

On-farm vigilance in following drug withdrawal times has led to a steady decline in antibiotic residue, falling from an already low level of 0.061 percent in 2002, a decline of nearly 75 percent in the last decade.

These figures are based on information reported to the Food and Drug Administration’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.

All milk loads are tested for antibiotics, and any tanker which tests positive for a drug residue is rejected before entering a dairy plant and does not enter the market for human consumption.