Field Trip: Exploring Antibiotic Residue in Dairy Products


Consumers are saying ‘no’ to antibiotics in animal products, and the food and beverage production industry has been required to respond in kind.

Veterinary drugs are often used prophylactically to prevent animals from contracting disease and enhance growth in food production.

However, Charles Yang, of Thermo Fisher Scientific cautions the overuse of these medicines: “As usage has increased, we have seen an increase in antimicrobial resistance, which means the effectiveness of these drugs is being reduced in humans and animals over time.”

“This poses a real problem when these same drugs are misused to combat viruses,” he adds.

Since antibiotic residue in dairy and meat products pose significant risks to human health, the environment and animals, restrictions have been put in place for the usage of veterinary drugs in food production.

Food producers, testing laboratories, procurement managers, and quality assurance officers are being urged to take heed of the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) that is legally tolerated in food products, in accordance with the Good Agricultural Practice, according to Charles.

The European Union (EU) and others globally are addressing MRLs as specified in EU Commission Regulation 37/2010 and EU Council Regulation 2377/90, as well as USDA/FDA guidelines.

These growing concerns about MRL regulation in food production have established the detection of veterinary drugs as an important part of food quality control.

As such, the scientific community has been working to develop increasingly accurate testing methods.  But the complexity and scope of testing for low limits with such a wide variety of chemical classes can be difficult to analyse, Charles highlights.

Consequently, the team at Thermo Fisher Scientific developed the Thermo Scientific VetDrugs Explorer Collection: a multi-class analytical workflow for streamlining the screening process for veterinary drugs in the lab.

Jeff Rohrer, Director of Applications Development for Thermo Fisher, weighs in on why the The VetDrugs Explorer Collection is a good solution offering for testing for very low limits in complex samples.

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