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Codex committee deliberates limits to set on veterinary drugs in foods


The Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods opened its 24th session in Chicago, Illinois, United States today, discussing a number of specific ways to restrict the amounts of veterinary drug residues in foods to levels that are safe for human consumption.

Committed to Codex

During his keynote speech, US Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, proclaimed his passion for what Codex does, noting its emphasis on science. “The United States as a country, I as an individual, and USDA as an agency, are completely committed to Codex as the preeminent international food standards-setting body, establishing science-based food standards that both protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade--in that order, science and consumer health first, and then trade,” he said.

The first person to serve in the US Government in this newly established role, McKinney, who grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Tipton, Indiana, explained why he is committed to making sure that Codex activities, setting science-based international standards for food safety and quality, work successfully. “Agricultural trade is a good way --a noble way-- for producers in the developing world to earn more to improve their lives and to provide a better future for their families and communities,” he said.

Maximum residue limits

Among the items on the packed agenda of the week-long meeting are proposed draft Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for zilpaterol hydrochloride (cattle fat, kidney, liver, muscle); amoxicillin (finfish fillet, muscle) and ampicillin (finfish fillet, muscle); flumethrin (honey), lufenuron (salmon and trout fillet), monepantel (cattle fat, kidney, liver, muscle). This technical committee usually works on priorities for the consideration of residues of veterinary drugs in foods; recommends maximum levels of such substances; develops codes of practice, and considers methods of sampling and analysis for the determination of veterinary drug residues in foods.

Ahead of Codex discussions, these compounds are first analysed by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), who report on their assessments, considerations and methodologies in order to establish an acceptable daily intake (ADI) and proposed MRLs.

Tom Heilandt

Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt

“Codex is good at bringing people together to decide on science-based food standards to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade”, said Tom Heilandt, Codex Alimentarius Secretary, advising committee members that ‘we must do what we are good at’ in his opening remarks. "Codex is member driven, open and transparent and works towards consensus. This is what we do well!” he added.

Learn more

CCRVDF24 meeting page