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InFocus: National Milk Drug Residue Database

Published on 18 April 2014

New data from the National Milk Drug Residue Database reinforced the dairy industry’s claims that antibiotic residues in milk are uncommon.

The annual report collates residue testing data from processors, handlers and state regulatory agencies. It reports positive tests for residues in raw milk from on-farm bulk tanks, from pickup tankers and after pasteurization of fluid milk and milk-based products.

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Of the nearly 3.2 million samples of raw milk obtained from milk pickup tankers in the U.S. last year, only 445 or 0.014 percent tested positive for a drug residue. That’s one in every 7,187. It was the seventh year in a row that the percentage of residue-positive samples from pickup tankers declined.

This report was not the long-anticipated thorough FDA report on residues in milk. Experts expect that final report to be released soon.

An image of a milk tanker has been created using 7,187 dots, the same number of samples that you would have to take in order to find one that was positive for a drug residue.

Can you spot the one dot that is colored differently? It’s about as hard to find as drug residues in raw milk.

Click here to download a PDF of the "InFocus" image from the April 19, 2014 issue of Progressive Dairyman magazine to try and spot the dot.

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