How Milk is Tested for Antibiotics

  • Article
  • Video
  • May 20, 2014

Dairy farmers are proud of the system for testing milk for antibiotics that keeps our milk safe for consumption.

Sometimes our cows become ill, and we treat them with medicine to help their recovery. Those cows are separated from the healthy herd and their milk is not mixed with the other cows’ milk.

When the tanker truck driver arrives at our farm, he takes a sample of our milk, along with sampling the milk from other farms that combine with ours to fill the truck. When the truck arrives at the plant, another sample of the milk is tested to determine if there is any antibiotic residue. Should the milk test positive, the entire tanker of milk is discarded, and the individual farm samples are further examined to identify the source.

That farmer is responsible for reimbursement of the entire load. This has never happened on our farm and it’s a good thing. That load of milk would cost us more than $10,000!