Animals, like humans, need medical intervention from time to time in order to combat infections or other illnesses. Veterinary medications, such as antibiotics, are available to dairy farmers by veterinary prescription only . Where they are used, specific withdrawal periods are designated to ensure that milk from antibiotic-treated cows does not enter the food chain. Food processors are responsible for testing the safety of every milk tanker before the milk is allowed through to the manufacturing line. In addition, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) conduct routine farm inspections and has a veterinary inspectorate that is responsible for the implementation of a national milk residue monitoring plan, as required under EU directive 96/23/EC. For these reasons, it is considered that there is no risk Irish consumers would ever buy milk which contains antibiotics
Unlike some other jurisdictions, in Ireland and the European Union, there is a total ban on the use of artificial hormones in dairy farming. Use of such substances is a criminal offence with strict legal penalties. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is the designated competent authority for the enforcement of milk quality and safety legislation, with farm inspections conducted routinely.