Food Safety and Drug Residue Avoidance Best Management Practices

The farm has a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) in place:

  • A veterinarian regularly visits your herd and consults with you about animal management and health issues.
  • A veterinarian is readily available for follow-up in case of adverse reactions or failure of treatment.
  • The veterinarian and producer have established an approved drug list.
  • The veterinarian establishes and reviews antibiotic use protocols in conjunction with the producer/farm management team.

Proper drug usage on the farm:

  • Only FDA – approved drugs are used to treat animals.
  • All drugs on the dairy have proper labeling with copies of drug inserts and/or product labeling being followed and available.
  • Only drugs that are approved and labeled for designated herd groups ie. lactating cattle, non lactating cattle (less than 20 months of age) or other herd groups (e.g. bob veal calves), are use in those herd groups, and only those herd groups.
  • Only a veterinarian can prescribe drugs in an "extra-label" manner.
  • A farm specific list of current over-the-counter and prescription drugs that can be used on the dairy has been developed.
  • Drug withholding times for milk and meat are followed and documented as such in written records.


  • A record system is maintained for all treated animals.
  • Treatments are recorded immediately after completion.
  • ALL treated livestock (regardless of age or use), are identified after treatment.
  • Treatment records are kept for at least two years (State or local regulations may require a longer record retention time).
  • Drug label and insert directions are followed and the following information is recorded:
    • Identity of animal(s) being treated
    • Route of administration
    • Dose of administered
    • Person(s) administering
    • Date of administration
    • Reason for administration
    • Drug administered
    • Meat and milk withhold times
    • Specific dates when meat and milk can be used for food
    • If a veterinarian prescribed/recommended administration
    • Example drug insert
  • Treatment records are reviewed with veterinarian and used to improve management of potential hazards and to reduce risk to milk quality.

Drug/Chemical Storage/Testing:

  •  Drugs for Lactating and Non-Lactating animals are stored separately.
  • Drugs are NOT stored/held in the milk house.
  • Expired drugs are removed from inventory.
  • No prohibited drugs are kept on the farm, or used, on food producing animals.
  • Prescription products are labeled appropriately, including name and address of the prescribing veterinarian (with which the herd has a veterinary-client-patient relationship).
  • Any Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) feeds on the dairy are stored in such a way that an accidental use cannot occur.
  •  It is understood that extra label drug use for the purpose of improving rate of gain, feed efficiency or other production is prohibited.
  • A drug (including a bulk drug) may not be mixed with feed for any use or at a potency level not specifically permitted by FDA regulation (21 CFR Part 558), even if prescribed by a veterinarian.
  • Milk from dry-cow treated cows that freshen early is tested for residues prior to marketing.
  • Milk from newly purchased animals is tested before adding their milk to the bulk tank.
  • When a cow is treated in an extra-label manner, test the milk for residues. When using bulk tank tests on individual cows, consult the manufacturer’s directions to ensure applicability.


  • Recommendations from the veterinarian are reviewed with employees and/or family members.
  • Employees and/or family members receive regular training on the prevention of milk and meat residues.
  • Treatment records are checked before marketing animals.
  • Employees and/or family members are trained on protocol of handling treated animals ie. milking last, keeping their milk from saleable milk.