FSIS raises the bar higher on residue avoidance.
By Gary Neubauer, DVM, senior manager, Pfizer Animal Health Technical Services
Millions of pounds of milk and meat from dairy cattle are sold each year, and the public expects it to be safe and wholesome. Now, the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is expanding its testing procedures
to back up that expectation with results.1,2
Confirming the safety of milk and meat is nothing new. The FSIS has long had the ability to test for contaminant residues since the National Residue Program (NRP) was established in 1976.3 With expanded testing and sampling that began Aug. 6, the FSIS has more opportunities and better tools to detect alterations.
Today, the FSIS is not only collecting a larger number of samples but also increasing the number of compounds each sample is tested for — including antibiotics and nonantibiotic compounds such as anti-inflammatories and growth promoters. The change in procedures sends a clear signal to producers that there is no tolerance for meat residues in market dairy cattle.
What is no tolerance?
In dairy market cattle, this means FSIS expects no trace quantities of drugs not labeled for use in cattle or of drugs not approved for use in lactating dairy cattle.
Products not approved for use in lactating dairy cattle include:
• Baytril® (enrofloxacin) Injectable Solution
• Nuflor® (florfenicol) Injectable Solution
• Micotil® (tilmicosin) Injection
• Draxxin® (tulathromycin) Injectable Solution
• Advocin™ (danofloxacin mesylate)
• Tylan® (tylosin phosphate) Premix
• Zactran® (gamithromycin)
• Zuprevo® (tildipirosin)
These products are not approved for use in lactating dairy cattle, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies as any animal more than 20 months of age — whether the animal is lactating or dry or has never calved.
In addition, FSIS expects no trace quantities of drugs not labeled for use in any cattle. This includes:
• L-S 50 Water Soluble® (lincomycin-spectinomycin) Powder
What does this mean for dairies?
FSIS has a clear message for veterinarians and producers who choose to use unapproved drugs: If you think no one is looking for these drugs, that is not the case. Veterinarians and producers also should remember that labeled withdrawal times for products in other classes of animals (e.g., dairy heifers, beef cattle) are not valid for lactating dairy cattle unless stated on the product label. And there is no reason to use products in an unapproved manner.
The dairy and beef industries already takes great care to assure our products have no residues, and we have made great strides forward to improve our prevention systems as this issue has come more to the forefront over the last several years. In fact, there are currently no producers from Minnesota and Wisconsin on the repeat violation offender list through the first half of the year. Producer efforts to prevent residues in market cattle also have resulted in major decreases in violative meat residues across the country.
We’re meeting the challenge, but the bar continues to rise. Knowing that the FSIS will be testing more often, and for more compounds, should only increase the industry’s resolve to avoid residues in the first place.
How to avoid residues
The first step is to develop a residue prevention plan with a veterinarian. If an operation doesn’t have a plan in place, the best time to start is right now by taking a residue risk assessment found here. The 10-question self-assessment takes only a few minutes to complete and was created using data from actual FDA investigations of residue violations.
Even if an operation has a plan in place, it should be reviewed and updated regularly. All employees responsible for handling medications should be trained, or retrained, at least annually. Again, a veterinarian can help review existing plans and can even play a role in training.
A reside prevention plan is a simple way to use products correctly and help the entire industry retain the consumer confidence and consumer demand we’ve all worked hard to achieve.
Visit www.AvoidResidues.com to find out more about the new testing procedures and to get started on a residue prevention program.
1 USDA News Release. USDA to Enhance Consumer Safeguards with Expanded Testing for Illegal Drug Residues in Meat. Available here. Accessed August 6, 2012.
2 Federal Register. Department of Agriculture. 9 CFR Parts 417. Docket No. FSIS-2012-0012. New Analytic Methods and Sampling Procedures for the United States National Residue Program for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products. Vol. 77. No. 130. Available here. Accessed August 7, 2012.
3 American Meat Institute. National Residue Program Fact Sheet. April 2010. Available here. Accessed August 20, 2012.
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