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International Dairy Journal
Vol. 41, 2015, Pages: 13–15

Performance of current microbial tests for screening antibiotics in sheep and goat milk

M.C. Beltrán, M.I. Berruga, A. Molina, R.L. Althaus, M.P. Molina

Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Animal, Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera, s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain.


The detection capability (CCβ) of some microbial screening tests currently available was calculated for sheep and goat milk in accordance with Commission Decision 657/2002/EC. The CCβ was at or below the maximum residue limit (MRL) for most β-lactams assessed and other non-β-lactam drugs such as neomycin, tylosin, sulfadiazine and sulfadimethoxine. However, the tests were less sensitive in the detection of most non-β-lactam drugs such as quinolones and tetracyclines at safety levels. When individual sheep milk samples free of antibiotics were analysed, an elevated somatic cell count was related to the occurrence of non-compliant results in all the methods assessed. To guarantee the safety of milk and dairy products from small ruminants, the periodical implementation of screening tests more sensitive towards non-β-lactam drugs would be appropriate.


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