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New Screening Test for Milk Residues

12 June 2012

US - Access to a highly sensitive and specific confirmatory test that allows dairy producers to check milk samples for drug residue concentrations is now available through the Cyclone Custom Analyte Detection Service (CYCADS) at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dairy farmers use pharmaceutical compounds every day for the treatment of painful and economically significant conditions such as mastitis and lameness. To protect the public from any drug residues that may pose a risk to human health, milk samples are tested by regulatory authorities, using assays that are more sensitive than conventional screening tests currently used on the farm.

This new test will provide US dairy veterinarians with an assay similar to the one used by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory authorities, for a fraction of the cost normally associated with this type of test when done by other laboratories.

The test assay allows dairy producers and veterinarians to:

  • identify and quantify drug concentrations in samples that tested positive on conventional screening tests;
  • determine drug depletion in milk after a drug has been administered in an extralabel manner;
  • check whether an accepted drug treatment protocol is being adhered to in a herd;
  • analyse milk from recently purchased cattle prior to them joining the herd as part of a biosecurity protocol;
  • determine whether dairy feed has been adulterated with antimicrobials used in beef and swine production.

The cost of the tests range from $50 to $75 per sample, and the turnaround time is two business days.

“The CYCADS milk residue screening assay will allow veterinarians to easily compare the drug screening results from individual cow or bulk tank milk samples with the established tolerance or “safe concentration” for pharmaceutical compounds assuming these have been established,” said Dr Hans Coetzee, associate professor at Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Where no tolerance has been established we will report the results accordingly. This will allow veterinarians to assist their clients in making a science-based determination as to whether the milk is suitable for consignment.”

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