The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now conducting a milk residue survey. The survey will involve collection of nearly 2,000 universal milk samples at central milk testing labs. Of the samples to be taken, 900 will come from dairy operations with a cull dairy cow tissue residue violation and another 900 will be random milk samples.
FDA will have the samples blind tested at central laboratories and then shipped to the Institute for Food Safety and Health at Illinois Institute of Technology. The samples will then be shipped on to FDA labs for analysis. The agency will be looking for a range of different antimicrobial and inflammatory residues that may include the following:
Ampicillin, Cephapirin, Cloxacillin, Penicillin G, Erythromycin, Tylosin, Ciprofloxacin, Sarafloxacin, Chlortetracycline, Oxytetracycline, Tetracycline, Doxycycline, Sulfachloropyridazine, Sulfadiazine, Sulfamerazine, Sulfadimethoxine,Sulfamethazine, Sulfaquinoxaline, Sulfathiazole, Tripelennamine,Thiabendazole, Pirlimycin, Flunixin, Bacitracin, Virginiamycin, Tilmicosin, Neomycin, Gentamicin, Florfenicol, Chloramphenicol and Tulathromycin.
The National Milk Producers Federation notes that this sampling process should take about a year. The group has a Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention manual available at its website.
Concerns over drug residues in milk remain an issue for consumers. The testing process will provide a better picture of what's happening in the market. Producers should be vigilant in their drug use and follow labeled directions for withdrawal before returning a cow to the milk herd.