The Issues Surrounding Drug Residues in the Global Food Market
The potential presence of drug residue contaminants in food products destined for human consumption is an increasingly popular topic of conversation in the industry but what are the main challenges facing the industry to tackle this potential issue?
Drug residue contaminants in food products is a discussion that involves the global community but each individual country or trade bloc has their own protocols and regulations relating to the control and monitoring of residues. The different legislations are designed to protect the general public as well as the food industry interests in their individual countries. Any business that wishes to sell their products within other countries or regions must meet their legislative requirements relating to drug residues. These differences in regulations have increased the need for increased dialogue on the issue as well as the implementation of effective monitoring systems.
The industry must deal with the potential of residues from antibiotics and growth promoting hormones entering the food chain. This will involve ensuring correct dosage per animal and also adhering to withdrawal periods set for their region. The second issue the industry faces is the stigma received from the misuse of these antibiotics and growth promoting hormones.
While there is a potential for misuse it should always be noted that a producer’s main concern should always be animal health, which leads to a quality end product. The use of antibiotics is to ensure the health of the animal and to reduce the potential knock on effect of untreated diseases which could create a downturn on yield. Growth promoting hormones are used to increase this yield also but should never be done so at the expense of a safe end product.
Residues from particular drugs in food produce can have serious implications for human health. As such many countries have set Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) or tolerances for these residues in food. The Maximum Residue Limit is the maximum concentration of a residue that can be present in a product from an animal or animal by product intended for the food supply. These MRLs mean that it is required by law in the enforcing countries that any product in the food chain cannot contain residue levels that are harmful to human health above these limits.
There has been controversy over measures to tackle drug residues in foods as there are no internationally accepted standards for many drugs. Ractopamine in particular has caused trade disputes as it is permitted in food production in some countries like the US & Canada, but the European Union, China, Taiwan and over 100 other countries have banned its use.
The real challenge the food industry faces is ensuring their testing methods are effective and reliable to ensure the safety of a variety of end products. To name a few of these diverse products we can look at the dairy, meat, seafood, feed and honey markets.
The dairy industry is under constant scrutiny and pressure to constantly produce high volumes of milk whilst maintaining a superior standard of quality in their dairy products. As part of the production process various contaminants are administered to cattle in an effort to systematically treat various infectious diseases and maintain a healthy herd. A direct consequence of this is the requirement of routine monitoring and testing within farms and dairy processors to ensure that the levels of contaminants in milk are within legal regulations not exceeding Maximum Residue Limits and that unauthorised substances are not found at any level in milk.
Testing can be conducted at several points during the production process. Firstly, farm level testing can be carried out to screen milk from cows that have been separated from the herd and undergone antibiotic treatment. Secondly, the dairy processor is required to conduct testing both onsite taking samples from tankers and retrospective testing as a method of internal surveillance to ensure the milk supplied from several farms is within global regulatory limits. Thirdly, retailers can test the processed milk end product to guarantee the milk is antibiotic free before it’s added to supermarket shelves for consumers.
Global meat production and consumption have increased rapidly in recent decades. Worldwide meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased 20 percent in just the last 10 years. Meanwhile, industrial countries are consuming growing amounts of meat, nearly double the quantity in developing countries. Mass quantities of antibiotics are used on livestock to reduce the impact of disease, contributing to antibiotic resistance in animals and humans alike. Worldwide, 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in 2009 were used on livestock and poultry, compared to only 20 percent used for human illnesses.
Growth promoters, which are tested for under the NRCP, are hormonal and antibiotic substances that may be used in food producing animals for growth promotion in livestock animals thus increasing the production of muscle meat and the reduction of fat. The type of growth promoter used is dependent on the animal species and mode of rearing with steroid growth promoters used for beef cattle and antibiotic growth promoters, which are usually added to feedstuffs, such as the coccidiostats used in the poultry industry and chlortetracycline used in the porcine industry. The rapid speed of meat production calls for the need to test for drug residues frequently to prevent them from ending up in the food chain.
The global aquaculture industry has grown steadily over the past five decades, increasing at an average rate of 3.2%. However, this growth has come at a cost, with the industry facing many new challenges. Farmed seafood is often treated with medicated feeds which contain antibiotics such as leucomalachite green and nitrofurans for example to prevent from disease spreading, they are also exposed to other harmful residues used to treat algae etc. within the ‘pens’ where they are kept.
The FAO (2012) reported that 38% of fish produced globally is exported, highlighting the imbalances in regional supply and the changing tastes of the global consumer. This increased level of exporting and importing shows the importance of drug residue screening within the global aquaculture industry. This increased level of exporting and importing shows the importance of drug residue screening within the global aquaculture industry.
The global animal feed processing market is estimated at US$21.61 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach US$ 26.62 Billion by 2023. The market is driven by factors such as the rising awareness of feed nutrition and health, technological advancements in the equipment industry and increase in the demand for feed around the world. Medicated feeds containing veterinary are often used to help prevent disease within livestock and there are MRLs for feed which has created the need for testing as high levels of residues can have an effect on livestock health and also transfer through to meat products for human consumption. With humidity levels rising in recent years there has been an influx in the level of mycotoxins found within feed and cereals. These toxins are fungal and can affect both livestock and human health for example mycotoxicoses which is a disease which can affect the respiratory system. The main cause of mycotoxins within stored grains are when the grain is damp or cracked and kept in insufficient storage conditions. These factors have made it necessary for feed and cereals to be tested for both drug residues and mycotoxins to ensure that they do not end up within the food chain.
The global honey market is growing at a rapid pace and the global consumption of honey is to reach 2.5 million tones by 2022. This growth is driven for consumers demand for natural and healthy alternatives to artificial sweeteners over cane sugar. There is also a growing awareness of the health and healing benefits of honey which is driving the demand for the use of honey for medicinal use, manuka honey sales continue to grow for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The rapid rise in demand for honey outweighs the amount that can be produced in a natural form globally due to a decline in the number of bees. This has influenced the quality of honey being produced as some producers take to diluting natural honey with high-fructose corn syrups in order to supply the demand. There is a requirement for keepers to treat bee colonies with antibiotics to prevent CCD and other diseases such as varroa mites and there is a chance that these harmful drug residues can be transferred through to the end product ‘natural’ honey. The use of antibiotic drugs in apiculture is globally restricted and there are no MRLs set for antibiotics in honey as it a natural product and needs to be antibiotic free, this has cause the need for testing both for drug residues and the overall quality of the honey being produced.
Due to the requirement to use a variety of drug treatments in the food industry and also the potential economic benefits to be gained from the use of growth promoters, there will continue to be use in animal production. However, as analytical methods of detection become more sensitive, producers are given further options for testing.
The surveillance for the potential presence of these residues of veterinary substances is regulated by the EU Directive 86/469/EEC. This directive outlines the guidelines for sampling and testing within a residue monitoring programme.
The requirement to meet these standard and the MRLs and detection levels outlined in the legislation has created a need for analytical methods to become more sensitive to ensure correct analysis. On some occasions MRL’s have been lowered which require a technology sensitive enough to detect very low concentrations in a sample.
One such screening method that is commonly used is the Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods, which work well for testing and providing accurate results.
Randox Food have developed another method of analysis using the Evidence Investigator which uses similar methodology to ELISA methods. The analyser uses biochip array technology (BAT) to perform simultaneous quantitative detection of multiple analytes from a single sample and can be used across multiple matrix types including the products produced by the industries mentioned. The core technology is the Randox biochip, this contains an array of discrete test regions containing immobilized antibodies specific to the drug residues under test.
These methods are rapid, reliable, and sensitive so are able to detect residues in very small concentrations. The Randox methods are developed in line with EU Directive 86/469/EEC and as such are an effective testing method for multiple areas of the food industry.
For further information please contact the Randox Food Diagnostics team by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bees and other pollinators are vital to three-quarters of the world’s food crops but have been in serious decline in recent decades. The destruction of wild habitats, disease and widespread pesticide use are all important factors.
Global honey production is projected to reach 2.4 million tons by 2022 this is driven by a growth in consumers demand for a natural and healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners, a rising awareness over the benefits of using honey as a sweetener over cane sugar and the realisation of the antibacterial and inflammatory properties of manuka honey.
The decline in the numbers of bees and rising demand from consumers for natural honey products has created a market for “illegal honey” being produced to supply the demand. Producers ‘cut’ their honey with additives like high-fructose corn syrup and brand it as natural honey, affecting purity and reducing cost.
‘Honey laundering’ has also become an issue, with countries such as China using non FDA approved chemicals within beekeeping and being non-compliant to regulations causing their honey to be banned from entering the USA. To get around this, Chinese honey is being shipped into countries such as Vietnam where it is then re labelled and moved into the USA with a new country of origin on the label. This has created the need for a reliable and accurate way to test honey globally.
In order to help the industry Randox Food Diagnostics developed the Evidence Investigator analyser. The Investigator uses Biochip Array Technology (BAT), a technology that was developed by Randox, to detect multiple residues (up to 45) from a single sample. Tests for honey include a vast range of antimicrobials such as Quinolones, Streptomycin, Chloramphenicol, Nitrofurans and more. Randox Food Diagnostics are also releasing a pesticides array in early 2018. Also offered are a range of ELISA test kits.
Alongside the evidence Investigator Randox Food Diagnostics developed the RX misano for enzymatic analysis of honey. The RX misano is now available for the analysis of diastase, total sugars (glucose/fructose), HMF (hydroxymethylfurfural) & colouration, with sucrose coming in 2018.
Randox Food Diagnostics will be attending Bee Happy Expo in Bulgaria from 1st – 4th March 2018 Stop by booth 25 or catch our presentation on Saturday 3rd March at 14:30 to learn more about our product offering for honey.
For more information visit the Randox Food Diagnostics website at: http://www.randoxfood.com/matrices/honey
Or email: email@example.com
Honey naturally contains a small amount of enzymes which can vary widely by floral source and region. These enzymes play an important role by contributing to functional properties of honey, making it a unique ingredient that is far more complex than other sweeteners.
According to the EU Honey Directive 2001/110/EC, certain composition criteria must be determined for honeys intended for human consumption. In order to achieve this, the most modern enzymatic analyser in the industry, the RX misano, is now available for the analysis of diastase, total sugars (glucose/fructose), HMF and colouration.
Designed with the user in mind, the RX misano incorporates a responsive touch screen display, test menu personalisation and the ability to upload new parameters via USB. With an increase in automatic features, the RX misano also guarantees the precision and accuracy of results, improving the overall efficiency and versatility of enzymatic honey analysis.
The RX misano for honey suits a wide variety of users from bee keepers, to large honey producers/packagers and QA laboratories. It’s table top size allows it to be very versatile in different locations and needs very little maintenance from the user. The user-friendly interface and simple sample preparations means there is no need for the user to have had previous lab experience to run honey samples with the analyser.
For a summary of the benefits of the RX misano see below.
7” responsive touch screen display, favourites menu, on screen prompts, the ability to export data into excel and import new menus.
With the ability to automatically calculate results, the RX misano leaves less chance for human error.
Customisable test menus
As the RX misano for honey test menu continues to grow, users can simply upload new parameters to the machine via USB.
Results are quantitative and produced within +/- 1% of UKAS accredited reference materials, boasting increased accuracy compared to alternative methods.
Reduced foot print
With a smaller footprint than standard spectrophotometers, the RX misano is suitable for laboratories of all sizes.
Excellent thermal performance
The RX misano heats to 37°C in less than 30 seconds and cools from 37°C to 25°C in less than 1 minute.
For more information on the RX misano or any of our other honey testing options please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global leader in food screening technology, Randox Food Diagnostics have developed a range of pioneering honey quality tests which are being adopted by apiculturists across the world to ensure the safety and quality of their produce.
The array of tests, developed by the Antrim-based firm, are being showcased this week at the world’s largest apiculture meeting, the Apimondia International Conference, being held in Istanbul, Turkey from September 29th to October 4th.
The company hopes to highlight to consumers and producers about the importance of food safety, and in particular the dangers of antibacterial residue in food. Scientists have warned that antibiotics used in food production, are passing through the food chain to consumers and therefore contributing to the rise in infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Randox Founder and Managing Director, Dr Peter FitzGerald, commented;
“As a company committed to supporting the fight against antibiotic resistance we must continue to drive awareness amongst producers and consumers alike.
“We are working closely with industry to promote a responsible approach to antibiotic use in food production and we hope that by working with some of the biggest names in the apiculture market, other honey producers will see the benefits of being able to offer their customers complete consumer confidence in a high quality, and importantly, safe product.”
At Apimondia 2017 Randox Food Diagnostics will showcase a range of major technological advancements including the firm’s Antimicrobial Array 1 Ultra, Antimicrobial Array II Plus and Antimicrobial Array V. Thanks to Randox’s patented Biochip Array Technology, these testing panels can simultaneously screen for multiple antibiotics that are sprayed on beehives to ensure the safety of the colony, from only one sample of the produce.
Randox Food’s Antimicrobial Arrays join the company’s already extensive menu of honey screening tests, including its test for Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a test for an organic compound produced by dehydration of sugars, which can be indicative of overheating, poor storage conditions or aged honey. The test was recently validated by leading South American honey producer Geomiel, which credited Randox Food for delivering an immediate improvement in the quality of its honey products.
David Ferguson, Global Business Manager for Randox Food Diagnostics, commented;
“We welcome the fact that so many of the world’s leading producers, including Geomiel, have embraced our vision of continuously improving testing standards.
“We have invested a lot in simplifying the process of conducting multiple tests, and consolidating this onto one unique biochip is a cost-effective way for the honey industry to maintain and improve standards. Apimondia 2017 attendees will be offered a complete testing bundle – including our popular analysers, the Randox Evidence Investigator and RX misano, to enable them to test for antibiotics and assess quality in one easy-to-manage system.
“Another unique feature of what we offer here at Randox Food Diagnostics is our ever-expanding test menu. The RX misano for example has a customisable test menu which allows clients to upload new parameters using USB, ensuring access to the most up-to-date tests on the market.
“We will be inviting Apimondia guests to learn more about the upcoming launch of our new pesticide tests, which will provide multiple results for the world’s most prevalent pesticides, such as Amitraz, Acetamiprid, Carbofuran, Carbaryl, and Paraquar. We remain committed to supporting food producers by providing them with the newest and highest quality tests.”
For further information about Randox Food Diagnostics honey testing, please visit: http://www.randoxfood.com/Matrices/Honey
For any further questions please contact Randox PR by phoning 028 9445 1016 or emailing RandoxPR@randox.com