As of May 29, Japan will enforce new maximum residue limits for veterinary drugs in food including pork and pork products, according to Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare officials. U.S. producers selling pork to packers that export to Japanare expected to be able to satisfy the new requirements, and need to find out if any production changes are required.

"Japanis a valuable export market for U.S.pork producers, representing 45 percent of all  pork exports at a value of $1.070 billion. It is important that producers take this issue seriously,” says Phil Seng, chief executive officer of the United States Meat Export Federation. 

  “The United Statescannot afford to lose this essential market. Unfortunately, just one out-of-compliance animal could put it at risk,” he cautions.

  U.S.pork producers are currently required to adhere to animal-health product-withdrawal standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. By following product-label guidelines, producers will satisfy most of the new Japanese standards. 

However, producers should take the following steps to determine whether the new regulations require changes to their animal-health product use:

  1. Contact their packer and find out if their hogs are being channeled to the Japanese export market and therefore affected by these new regulations.   
  2. Visit the National Pork Board’s Web site to determine if medications being used in their production operation have withdrawal periods that are impacted by the new standards. This information can be found at: http://www.pork.org/producers/JapanMRL.aspx. This Web page will be updated as information from animal-health companies is received.
  3. Contact their herd veterinarian to discuss changes to their herd-health program if their current animal-health strategy is effected. 

  Japanese residue-monitoring protocols require testing at or near any identified injection sites.  Producers are encouraged to work with their veterinarian to consider product choices in the finishing-hog phase and to develop appropriate treatment protocols. Producers also are encouraged to review the Pork Quality Assurance and the Take Care – Use Antibiotics Responsibly programs. Those materials can be accessed at www.pork.org or obtained through NPB's ProducerServiceCenterat (800) 456-7675.

Source: National Pork Board.