The dairy industry does an outstanding job ensuring that milk for consumers is free of antibiotic residues. This is a situation that is closely monitored and documented under the Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO), which requires that all milk must be sampled and analyzed for animal drug residues before being processed. Any positive loads of milk are excluded from the human food chain.
Over a one-year period from October 1, 2022, to September 30, 2023, just 345 milk samples out of nearly 3.7 million samples tested positive for animal drug residues. That is an all-time low since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started compiling this information in 1994. This means a minute 0.009% of the 3,694,059 samples taken of Grade A milk in the United States were positive.
To highlight the progress that has been made, in 2002, 3,500 samples tested positive for animal drug residue. While that was still a very small proportion of the more than 4.6 million submitted samples, the nation’s dairy herds have now been under 1,000 positive milk samples for the past 12 years and below 500 positive samples for the last three.
These most recent numbers come from the FDA’s “National Milk Drug Residue Database Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report” released in December. The previous record was set in 2022 with 424 samples.