The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is modifying its approach to testing meat carcasses for illegal new animal drug residues, and to disposing of carcasses containing residues. The change will make the FSIS' testing procedures consistent with those used by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FSIS announced its intention to make the change in the Federal Register, Aug. 6, 2001, and after reviewing comments from stakeholders, implemented the change June 7, 2004. The change will primarily affect the testing of carcasses of animals treated with new animal drugs for which the FDA has established a residue tolerance for a specific target tissue without also establishing a residue tolerance for muscle tissue. There are only seven veterinary drugs commonly used in swine and cattle that fall into this category; they are apramycin, carbadox, fenbendazole, melengestrol acetate, morantel tartrate, oxfendazole, and tiamulin.
When the FSIS tests carcasses for residues from those drugs, they will test only the target tissue. If the target tissue contains residues that exceed the FDA's established tolerance, the FSIS will consider the entire carcass adulterated and condemn it. If the FDA has established tolerances for both target and muscle tissue, the FSIS will test the muscle tissue, and allow muscle tissue that contains residues at or below acceptable concentrations to be distributed for human consumption.
Complete information on the change and the FSIS' responses to comments on the change is printed in the May 7 issue of the Federal Register. For more information, write to Carole Thomas, Technical Analysis Staff, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Room 405, Cotton Annex, Washington, DC 20250-3700; or call (202) 205-0210.