Home
Order
News & Media
Contact
Frequently Asked Questions: Antibiotics in Milk Test
  1. What should I do if my sample tests positive for antibiotics?
  2. Are there health concerns related to antibiotics in milk?
  3. What antibiotics can the test detect?
  4. Does the test work on other products that contain milk, like ice cream, baby formula, or creamer?
  5. Is all natural/organic milk antibiotic-free and is there a difference between natural and organic milk?
  6. Where can I get more information about antibiotics that can be found in milk?
  7. How common are antibiotics in milk?
  8. What types of antibiotics can be found in milk?
  9. What levels of antibiotics are allowed in milk?
  10. How do the tests work?
  11. We already have a system to test our milk. Why should I use NaturalCheck tests instead?
  12. Is the test AOAC approved?
  1. What should I do if my sample tests positive for antibiotics?
    If you are testing a retail sample, you will probably be pretty concerned if your milk tests positive! Feel free to contact NaturalCheck at 1-888-680-7969 or customerservice@naturalcheck.com. Also, the FDA accepts contamination reports and frequently will collect samples for further testing. You may contact your local FDA field representative to report your results.
  2. Are there health concerns related to antibiotics in milk?
    Antibiotics in milk could cause bacteria resistant to the same antibiotics used to treat people for infections. If people are exposed to these bacteria, effective treatments would be harder for doctors to find. It is possible that people who are highly allergic to beta-lactam antibiotics could have a reaction to milk that tests positive for these compounds. It is also possible that routine exposure to antibiotics could foster the development of new allergies.
  3. What antibiotics can the test detect?
    The Beta-lactam test can detect 21 different antibiotics in the beta-lactam family. These include amoxicillin, ampicillin, cephapirin, cloxacillin, and penicillin. The full list with sensitivity of the test for each antibiotic may be found here.

  4. Does the test work on other products that contain milk, like ice cream, baby formula, or creamer?
    The tests work on milk, including cow, goat and sheep's milk. They work with many varieties of baby formula. Sugars added to products like ice cream could cause a test to produce a false positive, so it is important to seek laboratory confirmation of results before coming to a final conclusion. We have not tried the tests on ice cream, half-and-half, cream, dairy coffee creamer, or yogurt so we would be interested to learn of your experience testing these foods. Keep in mind that yogurt, by definition, is made with live bacterial cultures, so its successful production suggests that no antibiotics are present.
  5. Is all natural/organic milk antibiotic-free and is there a difference between natural and organic milk?
    Unfortunately, there are cases where products advertised as natural or organic have been contaminated. Organic milk is the least likely to be contaminated because producers must meet two levels of legal requirements: 1) rules that make antibiotic residues in all milk illegal, and 2) the organic rule that prohibits the use of antibiotics at all times in milk production. Some "natural" milk producers never use antibiotics on their animals, and some producers do. In both cases, natural producers are subject to the same regulations as conventional milk producers, but are not subject to the organic rule.

  6. Where can I get more information about antibiotics that can be found in milk?
    More info on antibiotic use, regulations and concern about overuse may be found at:

  7. How common are antibiotics in milk?
    The FDA's National Milk Drug Residue Database shows how frequently industry and government testing of milk finds samples that test positive for beta-lactam antibiotics. According to the 2007 report, about 1 in 2,500 on-farm samples tested positive. Ideally, that number would be zero.
  8. What types of antibiotics can be found in milk?
    Tolerance and/or Safe Levels of Animal Drug Residues in Milk" is an FDA memo listing the antibiotics that can be used in milk production. Other antibiotics not on the list may be used at some point in the life of a milk-producing animal. If you think a test should be available for a specific antibiotic, please let us know.

  9. What levels of antibiotics are allowed in milk?
    "Tolerance and/or Safe Levels of Animal Drug Residues in Milk" is a memo detailing antibiotic levels accepted by the FDA.
  10. How do the tests work?
    NaturalCheck milk tests are based on lateral flow test technology.
  11. We already have a system to test our milk. Why should I use NaturalCheck tests instead?
    Some producers prefer the speed and convenience of a test with results in 5 minutes and no incubator, water baths or other culturing steps.
  12. Is the test AOAC approved?
    The American Organization of Analytical Chemists (AOAC) provides certification for tests that are used to meet regulations under FDA's Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). The PMO requires testing of milk as it comes off the farm. NaturalCheck milk tests do not currently have AOAC certification, so they are suitable for screening for general interest, including quick checks before any final PMO testing.