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Indiana State Board of Animal Health

BOAH > Dairy & Milk > Laboratory and Drug Residue Testing > Laboratory and Drug Residue Testing FAQ's Laboratory and Drug Residue Testing FAQ's

What is rBST?  Should I be concerned about consuming rBST? 
     
Bovine somatotropin, or BST, is a natural protein produced in the pituitary glands of all cattle and it helps adult cows produce milk.  rBST is the synthetic or man-made version of this hormone.  Chemically they are identical and there is no laboratory test that can distinguish one from the other. 
      Consuming rBST free milk is a personal choice.  There is no difference in nutritional content or BST levels in milk from cows given rBST. 

How can I be sure there aren't any antibiotics in my milk? 
     
Every load of milk must be tested for antibiotic drugs before the dairy plant receives it. 

I want to make cheese to sell from my own milk at my homestead/farm.  Why do I have to test for antibiotics? 
     
The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance states that all milk must be tested for antibiotic residues prior to being processed but it doesn't differentiate between small homestead processors and large commercial processors.  The BOAH's mission is to ensure consumer safety and having everyone test for antibiotics regardless of size of operation is one way to accomplish that.  For more information about becoming a homestead processor go to Grade A & Manufactured Grade Products Processing.

What testing is performed on a regular basis on the milk I buy at the grocery store to insure its safety? 
     
Each month the BOAH dairy staff obtains random samples of all products made by a manufacturer at that manufacturer's facility.  These samples are tested by the Microbiology Laboratory at the Indiana State Department of Health for bacteria, coliform, antibiotic residues and proper pasteurization.  The samples are also tested for fat levels as a labeling concern.  Action is taken to stop production and correct inadequacies if a problem is identified.