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Dairy Facts 2016

FDA’s Annual Report on Residues in Raw Milk Shows Continued Decline

Feb 26, 2014

Only 0.014 percent of all truckloads of raw milk tested positive for medicinal animal drug residues in fiscal year 2013, according to the Food and Drug Administration's recently released National Milk Drug Residue Database (NMDRD) results, which are published yearly. The figure dropped from 0.016 percent last year.

The U.S. dairy industry tests every truckload of raw milk prior to use. All truckloads of raw milk testing positive for violative drug residues are disposed of and not used to produce food for human consumption. The benefits of this standard practice are reflected in the fact that no residues were found in any of the more than 160,000 samples of pasteurized milk and milk products tested since 2010 and reported through FDA’s NMDRD reports.   

Furthermore, the amount of milk disposed of in fiscal years 2009 through 2013 continues a decline that began in fiscal year 2008, according to the NMDRD.

"The results further illustrate the high level of safeguards the dairy industry has in place to ensure that consumers can safely enjoy our high quality and nutritious dairy products," said John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards.

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. Testing of all bulk milk trucks is designed to ensure that all necessary precautions are being taken to keep residues out of the milk supply.

This NMDRD annual report is separate from the Milk Sampling Survey that the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Veterinary Medicine launched in January 2012. The results from the FDA/CVM assignment may be released as early as next month.

The full NMDRD reports are available here.

For more information, contact Allan at


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