When it comes to the collective dairy community, all involved are doing their part to ensure that milk meets the highest safety standard and that antibiotic resistance is held at bay.

How do we know that’s true?

Only 424 milk samples from a total of nearly 3.9 million tested positive for an animal drug residue . . . the code word for antibiotics in milk. That ratio of positive samples set a new industry record at 0.001%. In those rare cases where a load of milk tests positive for antibiotics, the entire load of milk is rejected for human consumption and does not enter the human food chain.

The bigger sampling picture

The data for the report comes from the National Milk Drug Residue Database website, and the entire system dates back to 1994. The system’s testing mechanism includes all Grade A milk, which now represents 99% of the U.S. milk supply.

As for the trends . . . not only was the 424 out of 3,879,182 samples the lowest positive test rate in the history of the program, but this was also the fifth consecutive year that fewer than 600 milk samples tested positive for a drug residue. It’s also the 11th straight year that fewer than 1,000 samples tested positive for a drug residue.

When it comes to bulk milk pickup tanker samples, 269 samples tested positive from a national total of 3.3 million. All of that milk, 12.7 million pounds, was properly disposed of and did not enter the food chain.

For a frame of reference, 2,191 samples tested positive in 2001, which resulted in the disposal of 89.5 million pounds of milk. Indeed, food safety continues to improve in a nation that has arguably the safest food supply on the planet.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2022
December 19, 2022
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