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Drug, Chemical Residues Get More FSIS Attention

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has decided to tweak procedures it follows in monitoring for the chemical residues left by animal drugs.  It is going to take more names, and do more testing.

In two separate instructional notices, FSIS addresses how it plans to collect more producer information and what public health veterinarians will do when there are multiple violations from same source suppliers.

The first instruction notice is directed at FSIS inspectors at establishments slaughtering cull dairy cows and bob veal calves.  The notice says FSIS “has recently observed that certain establishments have multiple residue violations because they repeatedly purchase livestock from the same sources and have not effectively used the historical information about the residue violations from sources to reassess the adequacy of their hazard analysis.”

FSIS said some establishments are not providing producer information to FSIS when bringing livestock in for slaughter.

The new instructions call for increasing “verification focus” through the in-plant screening tests used to detect chemical residue from animal drugs. FSIS inspectors use the Fast Antimicrobial Drug and Kidney Inhibition Swab to detect chemical residues in animal and swine.

Establishments will have until the post mortem inspection to provide producer information.

Inspectors will test at least two animals any time the establishment receives animals from an unknown source.  Inspectors can increase test rates for cows and bob calves from unknown sources and might even test all animals.

In the second notice, FSIS instructs public health veterinarians on how to handle multiple confirmed residue violations from same source suppliers.  Since its current practices were adopted, FSIS says certain establishments have multiple residue violations because they purchase animals from the same sources and are not using information about residue violations to reassess the adequacy of their hazard analysis.

It says those slaughterhouses do not have an adequate Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plan in dealing with residue levels that are reasonably like to occur.

The veterinarians are being told that once they learn of multiple residue violations, they should bring it up in their weekly meeting with slaughterhouse managers.  

FSIS will focus on “same source suppliers,” meaning any individual person, farm, sale barn or other firm providing animals to the establishment.

Residue control should be addressed in the establishment’s HACCP plan or Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP).

The notice also says where there are multiple residue violators from a same supplier, vets should step up testing until obtaining four consecutive negative results.

Chemical residues in milk or animals slaughtered for human consumption are carefully regulated to minimize or eliminate their presence to safety levels based on FDA-established tolerance levels.  Residues, usually from animal drugs, can cause allergic reactions and antimicrobials can contribute to antibiotic resistance to certain “superbugs.” Animal drug residues are often detected at higher than allowable levels if suggested withdrawal periods are not followed, dosages are excessive or extended, or proper records are not kept.

FSIS residue tests frequently are positive for various sulfa drugs being used by dairy farms and veal calf operations.  The American Meat Institute, the industry group, published the notices on its website without any comment.  

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