FDA Confirms Your Milk is Safe: Answers to Questions You May Have

  • Article
  • March 10, 2015

No matter how you catch the day’s news – whether watching during breakfast, listening to the radio during the morning commute or checking updates on social media – you may hear about the results of a milk survey done by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. You may wonder what it all means for you and your family. We’re here to provide some answers.

What did the FDA survey look for?

The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine study collected milk samples from nearly 2,000 dairy farms across the country. Samples were tested for residues of 31 different drugs, including all of the antibiotics most often used on U.S. dairy farms.

What did it find?

The results show that 99 percent are in full compliance with the industry’s existing regulations, meaning less than 1 percent are not. It’s important to remember that the samples that were tested were taken before the milk went to a milk plant. Once milk reaches the plant, it is tested again. Any milk that tests positive is thrown out and doesn’t reach the dairy case. The FDA report confirms that your milk remains safe.


What’s being done?

Dairy farmers, veterinarians and dairy food companies are committed to delivering high-quality and nutritious milk. They all work together to keep improving the system that keeps antibiotics out of milk. As a part of that, farmers whose milk tests positive for antibiotics continue to face stiff financial and other penalties; those farmers could even lose their license to sell milk. 

How do dairy farmers use antibiotics?

Dairy farmers use antibiotics responsibly and carefully to treat cows that are sick, especially with dairy cows who produce the milk that will be bottled and sold. If a cow receives antibiotics, she continues to be milked, but she is separated from the rest of the herd and her milk is discarded (never reaching the public). Once she is healthy again, farmers test her milk – it will not be sold until it is clear of any and all drug residues.