Testing milk for antibiotic residues: guidance

Last updated:
27 August 2015
Guidance on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 as regards the testing of milk for antibiotic residues. In particular, the requirement that food business operators must initiate procedures to ensure that raw milk is not placed on the market if it contains antibiotic residues in excess of regulated limits.

Applies in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland

This information is for:

  • farmers, milk producers
  • milk purchasers and processors
  • enforcement authorities

Legal status:

Guidance to accompany EC Regulation.

The guidance explains the legislative requirements; what an antibiotic screen test failure means; outlines the options for action and also sets out who should be notified in the event of a test failure.

August 2015 update

The guidance was updated and published in August 2015 as part of a scheduled review. The update takes into account the recommendations of an FVO visit in 2013 and a limited consultation with stakeholders.

The main changes to the guidance are:

  • updated references to the Regulations where these have changed or been updated
  • reporting of 'adverse events', eg where antibiotic test failures have occurred after the withdrawal period
  • clarification of the need for testing of milk from road tankers┬áprior to use of milk in processing establishments
  • clarification of what food business operators need to report to their Competent Authority, eg where milk is tested and failures occur
  • clarity on the sampling and testing frequency and the need for sampling frequencies to be determined on a risk basis