Milk drug residue incidence declines further

U.S. Food &; Drug Administration's (FDA) annual analysis indicates dairy consumers may be safer than ever when it comes to animal drug residues in milk.

During fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013-Sept, 30, 2014), 3.680 million milk samples were tested for animal drug residues. Of those, just 703 tested positive, according to FDA's National Milk Drug Residue Database Fiscal Year 2014 report, released Feb. 12. And, no animal drug residue were detected in dairy products headed for sale.

The Grade "A" Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO), which govern the state regulatory agencies in the implementation and enforcement of their Grade "A" milk safety program, require that all bulk milk tankers be sampled and analyzed for animal drug residues before the milk is processed. Any bulk milk tanker found positive is rejected for human consumption.

Drug residue tests were conducted at four "locations":

• Bulk milk pickup tankers (bulk raw milk from a dairy farm). Samples are taken on receipt of every tanker load at a milk receiving facility. Of 3.15 million samples, 429 (0.014% – 14 thousandths of 1%) tested positive.

• Producer (raw milk obtained from the bulk tank/silo from a dairy farm). Of 445,223 total samples, 266 (0.060%) tested positive.

• Other (milk from milk plant tank/silos, milk transport tankers, etc. Of 49,953 total samples, 8 (0.016% tested positive.

In addition, samples of pasteurized fluid milk and milk products (finished dairy products in bulk or package form, after pasteurization, including milk, cream, condensed and dry milk and milk products, and condensed and dry whey and whey products were tested. Of 37,707 total samples, none tested positive for animal drug residues.

It marked the third consecutive year milk samples testing positive for drug residues fell below 1,000. Overall, a total of 18.09 million lbs. of  milk were found positive for a drug reside and disposed of in FY "14.

In addition testing for drug residues, a total of 4.01 million tests were reported to identify nine different groups of families or individual drugs. Twenty-five testing methods were used to analyze the samples for drug residues.  Of the 4.01 million total tests conducted 3.65 million were for Beta lactams. Of those, 684 were positive for Beta lactams; 16 were positive for sulfonamides; 2 were positive for tetracyclines; and 1 was positive for enrofloxacin.

Mandatory drug residue reporting is required by state regulatory agencies under the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS). 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.

The NCIMS is a voluntary organization directed and controlled by member states to promote the availability of a high quality milk supply. The FDA and the NCIMS, through their collaborative efforts, have developed a cooperative, federal-state program (the Grade "A" Interstate Milk Shippers Program) to ensure the sanitary quality of Grade "A" milk and milk products shipped in interstate commerce.

In 1991, NCIMS  authorized a national program to compile the results of milk drug residue testing by industry and state regulatory agencies. The National Milk Drug Residue Data Base (NMDRD) is a voluntary industry reporting program, under contract to FDA.  Data reported to the NMDRD are for educational and analytical purposes, and are not intended or suitable for regulatory action or follow up.

The system includes all milk, Grade "A" and non-Grade "A", commonly known as manufacturing grade. Grade "A" milk represents approximately 99% of the milk supply in the U.S. and is regulated through the NCIMS by the state regulatory agencies.

The samples and tests reported do not necessarily represent 100% of the milk supply from every state. However, all 50 states and Puerto Rico submitted data for the report.

To download the full report, click here.



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