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Dairy Facts 2016

FDA Milk Monitoring Program Shows Significant Reductions in Residue

Mar 03, 2008

FDA Milk Monitoring Program Shows Significant Reductions in Residue

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released the fiscal year 2007 National Milk Drug Residue Database (NMDRD) results, which found that only 0.032% of all truckloads of raw milk tested positive for medicinal animal drug residues. This is a 15% reduction from 2006, an almost 50% reduction over the last five years and the lowest level achieved since the FDA-sponsored monitoring program began in the mid-1990s. The results also confirm the U.S. dairy industry's strong record of success in keeping medicinal animal drug residues out of the U.S. milk supply, which reached 185.6 billion pounds in 2007.

"The U.S. dairy industry's compliance with both government-mandated and industry-based drug residue prevention programs fulfills consumer expectations that their milk and dairy products are safe, nutritious and wholesome," said Allen Sayler, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards. "The program of testing every truckload of raw milk for the most common drug residues and disposing of milk testing positive is an ongoing success."

Under the monitoring program, state regulatory agencies collect drug residue data on all truckloads of raw milk; more than 3.3 million samples were analyzed from October 2006 to October 2007. The U.S. dairy industry tests every truckload of raw milk prior to use. If a truckload tests positive, the entire load of milk is disposed of so that the milk will not be used to make dairy products. In addition, the FDA report includes results of almost 44,000 samples of retail-ready dairy products and 570,000 samples of individual dairy farm's raw milk taken by the industry, state regulators and FDA.

Dairy farmers and veterinarians use animal medicines under strict controls to treat sick dairy cattle. Treated cattle are removed from regular milk production and are not returned to the milking herd until their milk is free of any medicinal residues. When used according to label directions, medicines should not result in any residues in the milk. In rare instances, however, mix-ups in treatment records and animal identification at the dairy farm can lead to residues in the raw milk supply. Testing of all truckloads is designed to catch these rare occurrences.

The dairy industry began this comprehensive program in cooperation with state and federal regulators in the early 1990s to ensure that raw milk containing drug residues did not enter the human food chain. The NMDRD was officially established in the mid-1990s to track the progress of this industry effort.

Full NMDRD reports can be viewed at For more information, contact Sayler at 202-220-3544 or



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Posted March 3, 2008


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