The national milk safety program and drug residues in milk

Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract. 1999 Mar;15(1):63-73. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0720(15)30207-3.


There are a number of factors that must be considered in any attempt to control animal drug residues in milk and milk products. Dairy herds vary greatly in number of cows. Milk from individual cows and farms is pooled, diluting drug residues that may be present in the milk from a single treated cow. Management techniques, including the handling, administration, and record keeping of animal drugs, vary greatly from one dairy to another. It is important that both veterinarians and nonveterinarians adhere to adequate milk discard times for animal drugs used to treat dairy animals. Observance of appropriate safeguards at the farm level, such as record keeping and clearly identifying treated animals, is critical for controlling and preventing the presence of illegal animal drug residues. Within the framework of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Public Health Service Act, the FDA is working with state and other regulatory agencies and industry to better ensure the absence of illegal animal drug residues in milk and milk products. Preventive measures concentrate on minimizing the need to administer animal drugs to lactating cows, and diverting milk containing drug residues from the human food supply. Monitoring programs concentrate on screening milk and tracing violations to the individual producer. Minimizing illegal drug residues in milk and milk products requires close cooperation between farmers, veterinarians, the dairy industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and regulators.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Drug Residues*
  • Food Contamination / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug
  • Legislation, Food
  • Milk / standards*
  • State Government
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration
  • Veterinary Drugs*


  • Veterinary Drugs