Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Using Forensic Technology to Track Down Drug Residues in Milk

Published: Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Last Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Veterinarians at Iowa State University are using advanced forensic techniques and the same technology used by crime scene investigators to monitor drug residues in milk and meat.

The ISU researchers work with other veterinarians and producers to strengthen food safety and make sure animals are medicated properly.

“It’s the same instrumentation used for forensics testing in humans,” said Hans Coetzee, a professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine. “But we use it to test for drugs in animals.”

Coetzee leads the Pharmacology Analytical Support Team (PhAST) in the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. He and his team employ liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, an analytical chemistry technique commonly used in human pharmacology, to test dozens of milk and animal feed samples every month.

The team’s mission is to help local veterinarians and farmers make sure the meat and milk they produce satisfy FDA regulations governing the use of antibiotics and are safe for human consumption.

Growing awareness
Patrick Gorden, a senior clinician in veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, said the use of antibiotics in production animals has taken on greater importance as consumer awareness of food safety has grown in recent years.

Gorden said the use of antibiotics and other medications in production animals may lead to the possibility of violative levels of the medications being present when the milk and meat are offered for sale. In most cases, that happens because of mistakes in record keeping or animal handling, he said.

“It’s important to realize that mistakes can happen and that safeguards are in place to prevent those contaminated products from reaching the consumer,” Gorden said.

Gorden works with veterinarians, producers and inspectors to keep everyone up to date on the latest regulations and federal programs, developing educational materials and holding meetings across the state.

“Meat and milk are safe to consume, and the monitoring process is being continuously improved,” Gorden said.

Every load of milk is tested for the presence of medicines at or above FDA limits before it’s unloaded and processed. Of all milk tankers tested nationwide between October 2012 and September 2013, only 0.014 percent showed antibiotic levels above FDA limits.

All milk found to contain medicines above FDA limits is removed from the supply and destroyed, Gorden said.

From racehorses to milk samples
The PhAST laboratory started out in the 1980s testing racehorses for illegal substances. The lab still does testing for horse and dog racing, but its mission has shifted toward testing milk and feed samples for drug residues in the last few years, which requires the same sort of equipment and expertise as testing for racetracks, Coetzee said. The team tests around 50 milk samples and 100 feed samples in an average month, he said.

The samples are sent to the lab from local veterinarians for several reasons, Coetzee said. For instance, a veterinarian may suspect that a dairy cow was mistakenly given an incorrect medication. Milk samples from the cow would be frozen and sent overnight to the lab, where PhAST personnel use chemical extraction techniques to strip away the fats and proteins from the milk, leaving only the drug signature.

It’s the only veterinary diagnostic lab in the United States that offers such clinical pharmacology services, so the lab has attracted clients from across the country.  And the PhAST team is expanding its services to include testing for oral fluids from pigs, a move supported by a grant from the National Pork Board.

“It’s unique in terms of the services commonly offered by veterinary diagnostic labs,” Coetzee said.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Regulations for Producers Will Benefit Consumers
Food safety experts at Iowa State University are taking a lead role to help producers in Iowa and the Midwest comply with new federal regulations to guarantee the food we eat is safe.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Studying the Structure of Drug Resistance in TB
Researchers at Iowa State and Ames Laboratory have used X-ray crystallography to study the structure of the tuberculosis efflux pump regulator.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
OnLine Seed Technology and Business Graduate Program
The Graduate Program in Seed Technology and Business (STB) provides a unique opportunity for seed professionals to grow through the understanding of both science and technology that is key to seed industry, and broadly applicable business subjects.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Iowa State University Researcher Develops Software that Sidesteps Effects of qPCR-Inhibitory Materials
The software system PREXCEL-Q can provide a way to detect and avoid inhibition, and enables investigators to consistently design qPCR reactions.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Scientific News
High Throughput Mass Spectrometry-Based Screening Assay Trends
Dr John Comley provides an insight into HT MS-based screening with a focus on future user requirements and preferences.
The MaxSignal Colistin ELISA Test Kit from Bioo Scientific
Kit can help prevent the antibiotic apocalypse by keeping last resort drugs out of the food supply.
"Good" Mozzie Virus Might Hold Key to Fighting Human Disease
Australian scientists have discovered a new virus carried by one of the country’s most common pest mosquitoes.
Non-Disease Proteins Kill Brain Cells
Scientists at the forefront of cutting-edge research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have shown that the mere presence of protein aggregates may be as important as their form and identity in inducing cell death in brain tissue.
Closing the Loop on an HIV Escape Mechanism
Research team finds that protein motions regulate virus infectivity.
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Potential Treatment for Life-Threatening Viral Infections Revealed
The findings point to new therapies for Dengue, West Nile and Ebola.
World’s First Therapeutic Venom Database
Open-source library describes nearly 43,000 effects on the human body.
Biologists Induce Flatworms to Grow Heads and Brains of Other Species
Findings shed light on role of a new kind of epigenetic signaling in evolution, could yield clues for understanding birth defects and regeneration.
Fat Cells Originating from Bone Marrow Found in Humans
Cells could contribute to diabetes, heart disease.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos