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Milk hygiene and antibiotic residues

Guidance for milk producers on hygiene standards and testing milk for antibiotic residues.

Last updated: 5 March 2020
Last updated: 5 March 2020

Food hygiene legislation sets out the duty of food businesses to produce food safely.


EU references in FSA guidance documents 

The FSA is updating all EU references, to accurately reflect the law now in force, in all new or amended guidance published since the Transition Period ended at the end of 2020.  In some circumstance it may not always be practicable for us to have all EU references updated at the point we publish new or amended guidance.

Other than in Northern Ireland, any references to EU Regulations in this guidance should be read as meaning retained EU law. You can access retained EU law via HM Government EU Exit Web Archive. This should be read alongside any EU Exit legislation that was made to ensure retained EU law operates correctly in a UK context. EU Exit legislation is on  In Northern Ireland, EU law will continue to apply in respect to the majority of food and feed hygiene and safety law, as listed in the Northern Ireland Protocol, and retained EU law will not apply to Northern Ireland in these circumstances.

Milk producer guidance

Red Tractor is an FSA approved assurance scheme which aims to ensure food products are traceable, safe and farmed with care. They offer practical guidance and assurance manuals for milk producers.

Testing milk for antibiotic residues

Milk producers must ensure that milk from animals under antibiotic treatment or in the withdrawal period does not enter the food chain.

Food businesses must test milk for antibiotics at various points in the supply chain, including on farm. If milk is found to contain antibiotic residues in excess of maximum residue limit (MRL), food businesses must initiate procedures to ensure that raw milk is not placed on the market.

Our guidance on testing of milk for antibiotic residues explains:

  • legal requirements
  • what an antibiotic screen test failure means and actions to be taken
  • who should be notified in the event of a test failure

England, Northern Ireland and Wales