Q: What can happen if I have a positive meat residue screening?

A: Not all carcass residue testing is random— some is mandatory.  If the inspector sees signs of mastitis, metritis, peritonitis/surgery, injection sites and/or pneumonia, that carcass will be further examined for positive meat residue results.

Unfortunately, there are certain consequences associated with the presence of drug residues at slaughter. The FDA may want to know:

  • Does the person have an idea how the contamination occurred?
  • Does the producer have a protocol in place?
  • What steps will be taken so this does not happen again?

That farm may go on one of two ongoing, public USDA lists:

Residue Violator Alert List— “Repeat violators” are individuals or firms who repeatedly (i.e., on more than one occasion within a 12-month period) sell an animal for slaughter in which the carcass is found to contain a violative level of a drug, pesticide or other chemical residue.

Same Source Supplier— This residue violator list has 3 parts. Part I contains residue violations for the current week, Part II has source violations recorded for the current week with prior violation(s) identified within the past year and Part III has source violations collected over a rolling 12-month window. (Definitions from www.fsis.usda.gov website)

Once on these lists, the FSIS (Food Safety Inspection Service) can test two or more animals per shipment until the tests for four consecutive, separate shipments from the supplier are negative.

When an animal is rejected by the FSIS, that information is passed on to the FDA. Consequences of FDA investigation can vary depending on the severity of the violation(s).  They can range from a warning letter and/or fine after inspection, to civil sanctions and/or criminal charges.

So be proactive:

  • Have written protocols
  • Follow label directions
  • Train employees
  • Keep good daily records
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