Focus on carryover of veterinary drugs in feed

12 December 2019

Earlier this year, James Deller, our Director, Risk Assessment Capability, Residues and Trade, participated in a joint FAO WHO expert meeting on the issue of carryover in feed and transfer from feed to food of unavoidable and unintended residues of approved veterinary drugs.

The report from this meeting has now been published, and includes results of the expert discussions, conclusions and recommendations. The Australian policy surrounding MRL establishment to cover residues arising from carryover of veterinary drugs is outlined in a case study.

Carryover of veterinary drugs in feed can occur during feed processing, handling, transportation, delivery or in feeding animals on-farm.

The risk of unavoidable and unintentional veterinary drug residues from feed carryover and/or transfer from feed to food of animal origin is unacceptable when it causes adverse health effects in target and/or non-target animals and/or humans consuming food originating from these animals.

If carryover is not properly managed, contaminated feed can result in residues in food of animal origin such as meat, milk and eggs that render them unsafe for human consumption.

Even if residues are not a safety hazard, they can pose regulatory and global trade issues as countries/markets may enforce a “zero” tolerance for residues when appropriate maximum residue limits have not been established.

Upon request of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF), FAO and WHO convened an Expert Meeting to review the causes of veterinary drug carryover in animal feed and the transfer from feed to food, as well as the known risks to human health and international trade, and suggest appropriate risk management strategies.

The recommendations of this meeting will be considered at the next CCRVDF meeting in 2020.

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