In a letter to Canadian authorities dated Aug. 24, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service reported the first carbadox residue violation encountered since the Canadian implementation of a zero-tolerance measure on imported pork products.

In early August, Canada announced it would allow the importation of products that may have been raised using carbadox, but would enforce a zero-tolerance measure for residues on imported pork and pork products.

The violative residue was found during random sample testing conducted as part of the United States’ National Residue Program and confirmed to exceed the residue tolerance for carbadox. 

The violation was found in one animal, at a small locker plant in Illinois that does not sell to international markets.  The animal was traced back to its original owner.  FSIS will take steps to recover the carcass and has requested an investigation.

Canadian authorities have indicated that they will not take action against the U.S. pork industry.  Canada is the third largest export destination for U.S. pork and pork products, making an import restriction a detrimental prospect for the U.S. industry. 

Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board's vice president of science and technology, says, “This should serve as a wake-up call for all producers around the United States.  It could have resulted in at least temporarily closing a very important market.  Producers should follow good production practices outlined in PQA Plus, and withdrawal periods established for animal-health products to maintain the trust of our domestic and international customers.”

Producers are being reminded to follow PQA Plus’ Good Production Practices when administering carbadox to pigs, and specifically to:

  • Follow the product manufacturer’s instructions for mixing, administration and withdrawal.
  • Identify all animals and maintain accurate records of all animals receiving carbadox to ensure that withdrawal times are completed before animals are marketed for human consumption.
  • Make sure all feeders, mixers and other equipment are completely purged and cleaned between batches of feed to avoid cross-contamination of feed with carbadox.
  • Empty feeders and bins between groups of animals to ensure animals that are not supposed to receive carbadox do not have access to it.
  • Clearly identify all animal health products, including carbadox, and all feeds and medicated feeds.
  • Communicate with all of your employees and workers the importance of following appropriate withdrawal times for carbadox and all other animal health products.

Producers should contact their herd veterinarian if they have questions about carbadox, its use or withdrawal.

Producers can follow this link to find information about withdrawal periods for many animal health products used in pork production. Producers are advised to follow label instructions if a specific product’s guidelines are not on NPB’s Web site.

Source: National Pork Board