Chr Hansen markets new dairy antibiotic test

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chr hansen Dairy farming Milk

Chr Hansen is offering a new test for tetracycline antibiotic residues in milk that can help dairies ensure they are under EU limits and maintain quality in yoghurt and cheese-making.

Higher productivity demands for dairy farming in recent years has meant that cows are likely to suffer infections more frequently, thus requiring more antibiotics. Tetracyclines are antibiotics used to treat mastitis, and their use is particularly prevalent in Spain.

However the European Union has set maximum residue levels of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for tetracyclines in milk – and penalties for excessive residues are stiff. There is evidence that high levels of tetracyclines in milk can have consequences for humans that drink it, such as antibiotic resistance, allergy and hypersensitivity in humans.

Thus, according to Chr Hansen, there is a growing need for quick and simple dip-stick tests to ensure that milk meets the required standards.

It believes its new offering, developed by Neogen Corporation and called TetraStar, can meet this need. Requiring little training and equipment, it is said to deliver results in six minutes – and determine not only whether the milk meets residue limits but also that any tetracycline that is​ there will not interfere with production cultures.

Ole Madsen, marking manager for dairy enzymes and tests at Chr Hansen, told that there have always been two sides to the debate on antibiotic levels: health and regulatory, and production.

“Antibiotic residues… pose a major problem to the dairy industry as they can inhibit starter cultures in yoghurt and cheese-making,”​ he said. “This could result in major losses to the dairy concerned.”

The level at which residues affect cultures varies depending on the cultures. But even if a culture has a high minimum inhibitory level, production could still be slowed down if lower levels of residues are present.

The company pointed out that, under normal circumstances, a cow receiving antibiotic treatment would be quarantined for four or five days – although this varies according to the kind of antibiotic and the dosage level.

The antibiotics are highly likely to pass into the milk if the cows are not kept in quarantine for long enough.

Chr Hansen has previously marketed another Neogen test for antibiotics in milk, called BetaStar. That test detects residues from the beta-lactam group of dairy antibiotics.

Chr Hansen is Neogen’s exclusive distributor outside its home market of North America.

The Danish firm claims to be a leader in the dairy antibiotics testing market, according to its own analysis; figures on the market size have not been published, but Madsen said Chr Hansen currently sees growth in its testing business of 10 per cent per year – “faster than market growth”​.

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