A multiresidue method for the detection of five important beta-lactam antibiotics (amoxicillin, ampicillin, cloxacillin, oxacillin, penicillin G) in fresh milk is presented that allows quantitation of the analytes well below established legislative limits. The method avoids the use of acid during the extraction procedure and entails a cleanup step over a C18 cartridge. The analytes are separated and detected by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) using a stable isotope-labeled internal standard. Mass spectral acquisition is done in the positive ion mode by applying selected reaction monitoring of two or more fragmentation transitions per analyte to provide a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. The typical recoveries for all five beta-lactams in fresh milk ranged from 76 to 94% at a fortification level of 4 microg/kg. This study also addresses common problems encountered in the stability of penicillins during sample preparation as well as the employment of postcolumn infusion of a standard compound to verify potential matrix-induced signal suppression in ESI-MS.