The AVMA is pressing Congress to restore federal funding of the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, an online decision support system that offers information about how to avoid residues of medications and contaminants in food animals.
Congress did not fund FARAD in 2007, and the program suspended interactive services on May 15 while preserving the database. The program could discontinue all operations in 2008. The AVMA is advocating for permanent funding of about $2.5 million a year.
"It's ironic that, at this time when food safety is of such pressing importance to the general public, Congress is allowing funding for FARAD to expire," said Dr. Doug Meckes, a former assistant director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division. "Today, due to lack of funding, veterinarians must search the FARAD database without any guidance or support from FARAD staff, and in 2008, the system will completely lapse."
Since 1982, FARAD has worked with producers and university extension offices as well as veterinarians. The program also extends to a newsletter, academic work developing predictive models and algorithms, and the FARAD Digest in the JAVMA—with the most recent digest appearing Nov. 15. Since the creation of FARAD, the program has received funding on a year-by-year basis.
Additional information is available from Dr. Bobby Nichols at the AVMA GRD by calling (800) 321-1473, Ext. 3204, or e-mailing rnicholsavma [dot] org. Veterinarians can e-mail their congressional representatives by visiting www.avma.org and clicking on Advocacy, then Government Action Center, then Elected Officials.