FDA Ensures Your Food from Animals Is Safe
Do you worry that the meat you eat or the milk you drink is safe? What happens if trace amounts of veterinary drugs are used to treat farm animals and then those farm animals become part of your diet? What is considered a ‘safe amount’ of trace drugs in animals for humans to consume? Health conscious individuals in Fort Myers Florida have asked posed these questions to the Division of Residue Chemistry, a department of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. Division Director Philip Kijak, Ph.D. explained the purpose of his division. “We validate the methods drug companies use to test for drug trace amounts in foods from animals, and we help develop newer and better methods for testing.”
The Fort Myers personal injury attorneys at Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato have summarized FDA data below:
Many farm animals raised for food consumption, especially pigs, cows, and chickens are given antibiotics or other drugs to treat diseases. What is to prevent consumers from eating meat, poultry or dairy products that are pumped full of drugs or antibiotics? By law, animal livestock producers or animal farmers are required to wait for the drug to pass through the animal’s system before they can slaughter it for consumption. This process was established to make sure any trace amounts of the veterinary drugs are safe to consume by the time the food reaches our tables.
In addition to waiting for the drug to leave the animal’s system, the animal pharmaceutical company that developed the drug is required to establish a safe tolerance level for human consumption and then perform routine tests on the animals to make sure the trace amount in the animal food product falls within that tolerance level.
Testing Milk for Human Safety
Because milk is perishable, a different test is performed, called rapid screening, which gives on the spot results. The FDA and the U.S. Public Health Service issued the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance which says milk must be tested for beta-lactam antibiotics, the most common drug used by dairy farms. It is the FDA’s responsibility is to assess and approve the data and data collection methods submitted by manufacturers of rapid-screening tests for these drugs.
Testing Poultry, Eggs, and Meat for Human Safety
When testing meat, poultry and eggs for safe human consumption, the FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) and state regulators all work together to ensure the products remain safe for human ingestion. The FSIS tests the foods for medications, reports violations to FDA, and the state regulators follow up if necessary.
Testing Fungus in Animal Feeds for Human Safety
The Division of Residue Chemistry most recently has gotten involved in developing methods to detect mycotoxins and other contaminants in animal feeds. These toxic compounds can be found in fungi that grows on grains. While these fungi are almost always present in grain, it’s the amount of mycotoxins that can change a food from being safe to unsafe. When we eat meat from animals that consumed the contaminated feed we can become sick.
The division is taking whatever steps are required to make sure that tested products are safe for consumers. (The full article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page.)