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Animal Medicines: Mitigating the Risk to Consumers

By Takele Beyene Tufa

In the agricultural sectors of countries around the world, veterinary medical products and other chemicals are commonly used to meet the challenge of providing adequate amounts of food for a growing world population. For instance, drugs are used to improve the rate of weight gain, to improve feed efficiency, or to prevent and treat diseases in food-producing animals. Chemicals are also used for biosecurity purposes. However, the benefit of improved productivity and biosecurity from the use of veterinary medicines and chemicals in food-producing animals, is not obtained without risk: residues of these substances remain in the tissues of treated animals at the time of slaughter and may exist in animal-derived products. This poses a health hazard to the consumer.

Drugs and chemical contaminants
Antimicrobials (antibiotics: chloramphenicol, penicillins, cephalosporins, other beta-lactams, tetracyclines, sulfonamides, quinolones, aminoglycosides and macrolides, anticoccidial agents: amprolium and monensin), anthelmintics (benzimidazole and their metabolites) and hormonal growth promoters are the main veterinary medicinal products that potentially contaminate foods of animal origin.

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