Avoiding violative residues takes cooperation from everyone in the food chain
When livestock producers identify a sick animal, the decision of when to treat it – and with what product – is becoming increasingly complex. Government regulations combined with consumer demand for wholesome, safe food are two of the major forces behind any treatment decision.
“Our responsibility to the consumer is to deliver wholesome products, like beef, absent of any residues,” notes Jim Sears, DVM, senior technical services veterinarian at Bayer HealthCare LLC Animal Health. “Of course there are regulations that establish rules and as to what can be administered, but we also have to meet consumer concerns with regards to providing safe products.”
Chemical products, including antibiotics, used in beef cattle production must go through a rigorous testing process before being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Withdrawal times posted on antibiotic labels are established as part of the approval process to specify the number of days that must pass between the last antibiotic treatment and when the animal can be offered by producers as food. This helps ensure a safe, wholesome product without any chemical residue.