Through its National Residue Program (NRP), FSIS tests for the presence of chemical compounds, including approved (legal) and unapproved (illegal) veterinary drugs, pesticides, hormones, and environmental contaminants that may appear in meat, poultry, and egg products.
One of the multi-residue methods being implemented for veterinary drugs will allow the Agency to screen for chemical compounds that include several types of legal and illegal drugs such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and growth promoters. In the past, FSIS would have collected 300 samples from 300 cows and looked for just one chemical at a time. Under the new system, one sample may be tested for as many as 55 pesticide chemicals, 9 kinds of antibiotics, various metals, and eventually more than 50 other chemicals. In all, FSIS will assess more compounds per sample using several multi-residue methods.
The NRP is designed to provide a structured process for identifying and evaluating chemical compounds of concern in food animals; collecting, analyzing and reporting results; and identifying the need for regulatory follow-up when violative levels of chemical residues are found.
FSIS is inviting interested persons to submit comments on today's announcement, which is tentatively slated to be published in the Federal Register on July 6, 2012 at http://www.regulations.gov. The new testing regimen is expected to take effect 30 days after the Federal Register notice is published.