Avoid antibiotics in the milk

Antibiotics or other medicinal residues in the milk are unacceptable. Read about the most important precautions to take to avoid antibiotics or medicinal residues in both milking parlors and robotic milking.

Both from an ethical point of view and for the image and credibility of the Danish milk production, it is absolutely crucial that neither antibiotics nor other medicinal residues are found in the milk which is bought by consumers or used for further processing. Therefore, the milk from every tanker arriving at the dairy is tested. In the rare case that the test is positive, the content of the tanker is destroyed. By means of the test taken at every farm when the milk is collected, the farm from which the antibiotic residues come is identified, and the bill for the destroyed milk is sent directly to the farmer. The bill may amount to 100,000 DKK. At the same time, the dairy contacts the farmer in question, and if he fails to locate the source of the error, a dairy quality advisor will help him pinpoint what went wrong. In this way, similar incidents in the future are best avoided. Annually, approx. 156,000 tests from tankers are taken and about 125 are positive. This equals 0.08%. In other words, these incidents are very rare.

How to avoid antibiotic residues in the milk

Naturally, one of the most important tasks of being a dairy farmer is to make sure that no medicinal residues whatsoever end up in the milk. Best practice routines and a plan for labelling, registration and milking those cows in treatment separately help prevent these errors. Read about the most important precautions and routines to avoid antibiotic residues in the milk.

Herds in milking parlors

  • Label treated cows – also dry cows – with red ankle ribbons on both legs
  • Point out to the whole staff that the cow is being treated and must not be milked, e.g. by writing it on a board in the milking parlor
  • Inform the staff – also the substitutes – about separate milking procedures. Many errors happen because the milker misses information or is not told which animals to milk separately.
  • Use the right equipment for separate milking. Milk separately in a separate bucket with a separate milking kit and pulsator. The vacuum supply for the bucket must always be connected to the pulsator pipe and never to the milking pipe.
  • Clean the milking kit, milking pipes and other equipment, which has been in contact with the milk, in hot water before using again.
  • Make sure to have a detailed description of how to manage treated animals. The description must cover the time at which the decision of treating the cow was made till the detention period expires.
  • Contact your local quality advisor if you have any questions regarding safe milking or if you need help to describe the separate milking procedures in your herd.

Herds with milking robots (AMS)

  • Label cows and dry cows with tail ribbons.
  • Enter separate milking as soon as it is decided to examine a cow
  • Enter the correct detention period for animals that are being treated with medicine

In case of an accident

  • Contact your dairy – avoid milk delivery
  • Place a visible STOP-sign on the tank
  • Dispose of all unusable milk correctly – that is by pouring it in the slurry tank
  • Wash the tank before use

Poster about safe milking for mounting in your barn

SEGES has made a laminated poster for mounting with illustrations and short guidelines that show best practices for safe milking.
The poster is available in 8 different languages. Order through this link PDF formular.

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