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Drug Residues Found in Goat’s Tissues

Liver and muscle tissues taken from a goat sold last August for slaughter by a West Virginia livestock operation contained residue from the animal drug Moxidectin, which is used to control parasites and tapeworms.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, in analyzing tissue samples taken from the goat sold by Hite’s Livestock Inc., found 0.0383 parts per million (ppm) of Moxidectin in the liver; and 0.0543 ppm in the muscle.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not established a tolerance level for residues of Moxidectin in the edible tissues of goats, but in a Feb. 1 warning letter to the Bloomery, WV livestock company, FDA said the presence of any Moxidectin in the edible tissues of goats means that it is adulterated, under the law.

“Our investigation also found that you hold animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the (human) food supply,” the warning letter said.  “For example, you lack a system to ensure that animals you buy and then sell for slaughter as food have not been medicated, or, if they have been medicated, to allow you to withhold the animals from slaughter for an appropriate period of time to deplete potentially hazardous residues of drugs and edible tissues.”

To avoid being continually found to be in violation, Hite’s Livestock should take the following steps the FDA letter stated:

  • Implement a system to identify the animals purchased with records to establish traceability to the source.
  • Implement a system to determine whether the animal has been medicated and with what drugs.
  • Implement a system to withhold an animal from slaughter for an appropriate period of time to deplete potentially hazardous residues of drugs from edible tissues or identify the animal as medicated.

One problem, however, is that because FDA does not approve Moxidectin for use in goats, neither is there an official withdrawal period.

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