The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has recommended that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) revise its Draft Compliance Guide for Residue Prevention.
“Prevention of violative residues is a high priority for the pork industry and we look forward to working with FSIS to prevent such violations from occurring in pork products,” says R.C. Hunt, NPPC president from Wilson, NC, in a letter to the agency.
“Compliance with domestic as well as international maximum residue limits is vital to maintaining consumer confidence and growing our domestic and international markets while protecting both animal health and public health,” he observes.
Originally developed as a tool to help prevent drug residues, the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program has provided pork producers with a tool to demonstrate that they have been educated on the importance of using animal health products responsibly and are aware of the protocols necessary to prevent residue violations.
“NPPC appreciates the thoughtful and thorough approach that FSIS has taken to address concerns with repeat violators in this draft compliance guide. While we are largely supportive of the steps outlined in the guide that establishments should take, we have concerns about producer notification of detected but not violative residues. The draft guide states that producers who deliver animals with detected but not violative residues should be notified since they are more likely to subsequently deliver animals with violative residues.
“This is counterintuitive since it could be argued that producers delivering animals with detected but non-violative residues are properly observing withdrawal times and thus taking steps to avoid violative residues,” Hunt comments.
NPPC has urged the agency to remove the draft guide requirement that establishments notify producers of non-violative residue findings for these reasons:
- The notification of non-violative findings could confuse producers and cause them to end use of animal health products that may be necessary to protect animal health and well-being.
- The notifications may discourage establishments from performing in-plant testing that is above and beyond that done by FSIS.
- The action on non-violative findings could dilute attention away from repeat violators that are most likely to present a public health risk.