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MDA program helps cattle producers keep drug residues out of food

The Drug Residue Prevention Program (DRPP) is an education and outreach program to help prevent drug residues in milk and meat and to promote antibiotic stewardship in livestock. Dr. Erik Jopp recently joined University of Minnesota Extension's The Moos Room podcast in Episode 54 to discuss the importance of the DRPP.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) developed the program with a grant from the FDA. The first two years of the program focused on developing a library of resources and larger group outreach, while more recent work has focused on one-on-one producer outreach.

Following a residue violation, meat and dairy producers work with the DRPP team to evaluate their veterinary drug use, recordkeeping, withdrawal times and testing to help prevent future violations.

Producers can also schedule a voluntary visit with the DRPP team to evaluate their operations and identify key areas that will improve the prevention of drug residues. If you are interested in scheduling a farm visit you can contact the DRPP team members listed on the MDA website.

Read Drug residue prevention for dairy and beef producers for more information or visit the DRPP website to learn about the DRPP team members, what the program does, and to view their library of resources.

Being proactive is the best way to prevent future residues and signing up for an on-farm visit with one of the DRPP team members is a great place to start.

The five R’s to prevent drug residues:

Relationships:  Develop good relationships with people involved in the process

  • Establish a good Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR).
  • Review veterinary recommendations with employees/family members who work on the farm.
  • Provide employees/family members with regular training on the prevention of milk residues as well as farm protocols for handling animals that have been treated.

Responsible use: Use and handle veterinary drugs responsibly

  • Minimize use of veterinary drugs to times when they are medically necessary.
  • Store veterinary drugs for lactating and non-lactating animals separately to prevent mix-ups.
  • Store medicated feeds in a way that would prevent accidental use.
  • Properly label and store over the counter, prescription, and extra-label drugs, including information with appropriate milk and meat withdrawal times.
  • Develop animal treatment protocols with the help of the farm veterinarian.

Recordkeeping: Maintain good records to document treatments

  • Use a good system to identify individual animals.
  • Maintain a recordkeeping system to document all treatments given.
  • Identify the animal before it is treated.
  • Record the treatment before it is administered.
  • Keep treatment records for at least THREE years.

Respect withdrawal times and usage limitations

  • Use only veterinary drugs that are approved by the FDA for use in the species and animal class you are treating.
  • Use the drug only as the FDA label specifies UNLESS your veterinarian prescribes the drug for extra-label drug usage (ELDU).
  • Follow withdrawal periods set by the drug manufacturers and your veterinarian (if using ELDU).

Remove doubt

  • Test milk from treated, fresh and newly purchased cows for drug residues BEFORE commingling into the bulk tank.
  • Test the bulk tank prior to leaving the farm, every day, every time.
  • Review treatment records prior to selling an animal or her milk.

Listen to The Moos Room podcast

Hosted by members of the University of Minnesota Extension Beef and Dairy Teams, The Moos Room discusses relevant topics to help beef and dairy producers be more successful. The information is evidence-based and presented as an informal conversation between the hosts and guests.


Authors: Joe Armstrong, DVM, Extension educator, cattle production systems, and Jessica Evans, Sandy Larson and Nicole Neeser, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Drug Residue Prevention Program

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