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J AOAC Int. 1994 Jul-Aug;77(4):862-70.

Performance of various tests used to screen antibiotic residues in milk samples from individual animals.

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University of California, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Davis 95616-8739.


The 10-point Milk and Dairy Beef Quality Assurance Program was developed collaboratively by the National Milk Producers Federation and the American Veterinary Medical Association and is designed to promote and document the responsible use of antibiotics in the dairy industry. One area of emphasis in this program is testing of individual animals for antibiotic residues after a specified post-treatment withdrawal time. We examined the performance of various assay systems on milk samples from individual cows. These assays are used at present on bulk tank milk samples by regulatory agencies, processing plants, producers, and veterinarians to detect the presence of beta-lactam antibiotics. A high proportion of false-positive results was obtained for both the pretreatment milk samples from cows with clinical mastitis and the milk samples obtained 21 days after initial therapy (nonantibiotic and antibiotic) for the treatment of mastitis. A high proportion of false-positive outcomes was obtained from the milk of clinically normal cows that had not received any medication for at least 30 days prior to evaluation. The results indicate a serious problem in the use of some assays that were designed to evaluate residues bulk tank milk samples to analyze samples from individual cows. This error in assay specificity results in the unjustifiable discarding of milk that meets regulatory standards and may be misused to accuse the producer or veterinarian of not adhering to regulatory guidelines. Maintaining a safe, high-quality milk supply is a constant goal of the dairy industry, which must be provided the appropriate tools and techniques to meet this challenge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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