The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Are cows treated with antibiotics?

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Animals, like humans, need medical intervention from time to time to combat infections or other illnesses. Veterinary medications, such as antibiotics, are available to dairy farmers by veterinary prescription only (regulated by Act 101/1965). Some over-the-counter veterinary products are also available (regulated by Act 36/1947).

Specific withdrawal periods are designated when these medications are used to ensure that milk from antibiotic-treated cows does not enter the food chain. It is the farmer’s responsibility to ensure that the guidelines indicated on the product packaging are adhered to.

Food processors are responsible for testing the safety of every milk tanker before the milk is allowed into the manufacturing line. South African consumers are therefore not considered to be at risk of buying milk that contains antibiotics.

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