Information from the USDA reflects that pesticide residues are nearly nonexistent in milk and that antibiotic residues continue to decline. The most recent national government survey looking for pesticide residues in foods found virtually no positive levels in milk, and none that exceeded government tolerance levels.

The USDA conducts an annual Pesticide Data Program annual survey to test various food commodities for pesticide residues.

Each year, the USDA and the EPA jointly determine which commodities to test. In 2011, the USDA collected 743 whole milk samples in ten of the largest states, mostly at the retail level.

Overall, only five of the milk samples showed any presence of pesticide residue, and all were lower than EPA-established tolerances for those compounds.

In addition, a recent FDA study showed that dairy farmers continued in 2012 to improve their track record of keeping antibiotic residues out of the milk supply. The survey found that only 0.017 percent of all bulk milk tankers, or 1 in 6,000 loads, showed any sign of an animal antibiotic drug residue.


On-farm vigilance in following drug withdrawal times has led to a steady decline in antibiotic residue, falling from an already low level of 0.061 percent in 2002, a decline of nearly 75 percent in the last decade.

These figures are based on information reported to the FDA’s National Milk Drug Residue Data Base by state regulatory agencies under the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS).

Data are reported on the extent of the national testing activities, the analytical methods used, the kind and extent of the animal drug residues identified, and the amount of contaminated milk that was removed from the human food supply. PD

—From NMPF's News for Dairy Co-Ops