Milkers have a key role in preventing a drug residue.
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Prevent residue accidents in milk

September 07, 2013
POSTED BY: Gary Neubauer | DVM | Senior Manager | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

Milkers have a key role in preventing a drug residue. We know that nearly all violative residues are caused by accidents on the dairy. These mistakes can be costly in the form of fines, prosecution and a loss of a permit to ship milk. 

As a milker, you are the first line of defense for avoiding residues in bulk tank milk. Accidents happen, and if you think a mistake has caused milk from a treated cow to enter the bulk tank, notify a manager or owner immediately. Follow these tips to help avoid residues in bulk tank milk: 

Keep and review treatment records. 
Accurate records are important to avoid drug residues. Make sure you understand how they work. Records should show the cow treated, date and time of treatment, drug and dosage administered, route of administration and length of any milk or meat withdrawal period. Even. if only one-quarter of the udder was treated, none of that cow’s milk can be shipped. 

Visually identify treated cows.
Cows that have been given any treatment where there is a milk or meat withholding time should be given a visual identification. Identifications can include chalk, paint or leg bands.

Milk treated cows last.
Routing milk into the pipeline from a treated cow is a common mistake that leads to drug residue. Make sure all treated cows are milked last and that their milk is not included in the tank.

Thoroughly clean milking equipment.
Equipment used to milk treated cows that is not properly cleaned before the next milking shift can lead to drug residue. Even the smallest bit of treated milk can contaminate the entire tank. Thoroughly clean and sanitize the equipment.

Follow treatment protocols.
If you administer treatments for mastitis or other diseases, follow the treatment protocols. If you’re unclear about these protocols, ask your supervisor.

Work with the dairy’s veterinarian.
If you have questions about drug residues, diseases or treatments, talk with your veterinarian when he or she visits the operation.

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