Ractopamine Detection in Meat

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Ractopamine Detection in Meat

Ractopamine was first developed as a treatment for asthma but was never approved according to Consumer Reports. Research later uncovered that when added to animal feed prior to slaughter, ractopamine could increase meat leanness or weight. However, ractopamine is currently banned or resisted in over 160 nations, including Russia and all European Union countries.

Ractopamine belongs to a class of drugs known as beta-agonists. These drugs mimic the effects of adrenaline, resulting in increased protein synthesis in muscle tissue during the administration period. When looking at the long-term effects of the therapeutic use of beta-agonists, side effects include a fast heart rate, widening of blood vessels, skeletal muscle tremor, nervousness, metabolic disturbances, high blood sugar and a lower than normal potassium in the blood. It is for this reason that in Europe all beta-agonists are banned for use in livestock and for improving athletic performance according to EU council directive 96/22/EC.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provide a “Never Fed Beta Agonists” program for companies that produce livestock and beef and pork products. Companies are to meet the requirements of the program if they are to supply pork or beef to customers that require verification of marketing claims that meat is derived from animals that are free of beta agonist residues.

With over 35 years’ experience within the diagnostics industry, Randox Food Diagnostics provide the highest quality products, customer service and technical support to ensure the needs of our global customer base are met. Our dedicated research and development team have therefore created our USDA approved ELISA kit for the detection of ractopamine residues. Offering excellent limits of detection, our accurate and reliable ractopamine test is applicable on urine and tissue sample types.

To ensure compliance with regulations, Randox Food Diagnostics also provide the Growth Promoter Multiple Matrix Array. Utilising our patented Biochip Array Technology, the Growth Promoter Multiple Matrix Array detects for several growth promoters in meat, including ractopamine.

For more information on our ractopamine ELISA or Growth Promoter Multiple Matrix Array, email info@randoxfooddiagnostics.com


Randox Food Diagnostics: Feed Testing in the Meat Industry – Challenges and Solutions

The global meat industry is a multi-billion-dollar business contributing over $85 billion to the US economy alone annually. Globally it is valued at $800 billion and as such, it is one of the biggest industries in the world.

With its already strong position and an ever growing demand for meat products the market shows no sign of slowing down. There are continued demands set on producers to provide not only more meat, but meat at a higher quality. Public awareness on issues such as drug residues, animal rights, food safety and antibiotic resistance is on the rise and as such producers and processors are more and more required to meet stringent requirements.

With the increasing demand on quantity and quality the industry faces many challenges and one the key areas of interest in this production chain is the monitoring of residues.

Residues in food relates to the residual amount of a particular compound either administered to an animal as a veterinary treatment or a naturally occurring compound present in food for human consumption.

There are a number of potential issues that can arise from contaminated feed and it is important for producers to ensure that animal feed has little or no trace of residues of mycotoxins, growth promoters or veterinary drugs.

Veterinary drugs are often added to feed to be used as a method of treating livestock, producers therefore must be sure of the dosage to ensure that withdrawal periods are correctly adhered to. Mycotoxins may also be present in feed due to a number of environmental factors, this can have a negative impact of the livestock.

The Mycotoxin Threat

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by fungi, commonly known as moulds, which can have a harmful effect on humans and livestock. These moulds are of interest to producers because they have the potential for significant economic losses due to how they impact human health, animal productivity and international trading.

Mycotoxins can be present in a wide variety of foods and feeds and are a particular threat in areas with climates of high temperature and humidity. They can enter the food or feed chain through contaminated crops, in particular cereals, poultry meat and kidneys, pig kidneys and pork sausages. Contamination may also occur post-harvest during storage, transport, and processing stages of the food or feed supply chain.

The establishment of mycotoxin limits and regulations have been set by multiple food agencies worldwide.  For example the EU 2002-32 Directive sets maximum permitted levels (MPLs) for substances that are present in, or on, animal feed that have the potential to pose danger to animal or human health, to the environment, or could have an undesirable affect to livestock production.

One type of livestock that can be significantly impacted by mycotoxins are pigs. Pig feed contaminated with mycotoxins can cause serious risks to pig health.

For example, Aflatoxins consumed by swine can expose non-clinical characteristics with low level exposure (20 to 200 ppb), inducing symptoms displayed such as feed avoidance, gastrointestinal disturbances, paleness and slower growth. It can also suppress the immune system and cause young piglets to become more susceptible to bacterial, viral or parasitic diseases. With prolonged exposure causing a greater risk of cancer, liver damage and jaundice.  High concentrations of aflatoxin (1,000 to 5,000 ppb) result in acute effects, including death. It is a genotoxic carcinogen and suitably its levels have been set as low as realistically possible in complete feeding stuffs for pigs and poultry with a maximum content value of 0.02.

Zearalenone is another mycotoxin that can have a negative impact on livestock. Produced by a strain of Fusarium graminearum it has been listed under the Directive with a guidance value. It has an estrogeneous action and is significantly toxic to the reproductive system of animals with the potential to cause rectal and vaginal prolapses in gilts (young sows). Zearalenone has been allocated a suggested guidance value of 0.1ppm in complementary and complete feeding stuffs for piglets and gilts and 0.25ppm in feedstuffs for sows and fattening pigs.

With the risk from multiple Mycotoxins in animal feed it is important to be able to detect dangerous levels of each listed in the EU Directive in order to reduce instances of damage to animal health.

Growth Promoters

Growth promoters are often used in the meat industry to increase yield of livestock, an important tool considering the increased demand on quantity from the food chain. Some of these growth promoters however are known to have a negative impact on both animal and human health.

The presence of anabolic steroids including beta agonists such as Clenbuterol and Ractopamine, as well as other veterinary drugs is under a strict monitoring program in meat and animal feed to prevent these negative impacts.

Growth promoting drugs are used to induce weight but can have various health concerns such as such as hospitalisation with reversible symptoms of increased heart rate, muscular tremors, headache, nausea, fever, and chills.

The potential human health risks highlight the importance of complete food safety testing before a food product reaches the public.

Veterinary Drugs

Due to the nature of the conditions livestock is generally kept in, there is a high potential for infection and spread of viruses. Producers need to be aware and proactive in treating any veterinary disease that arises.

One such disease that can be an issue is coccidiosis which is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract. This disease can be spread by contact with infected faeces, or the ingestion of infected tissues by other animals. Coccisiostats are potent drugs which are widely used within veterinary practice to treat coccidiosis, mainly in feed additives. Chickens are susceptible to at least 11 species of coccidia that causes coccidiosis therefore creating an importance to treat for. Coccisiostat residues that occur in high levels within food for human consumption can be unsafe and can have negative effects on pre-existing coronary conditions/diseases. These residues can pass through the meat tissue and eggs.

The Solution

With a variety of potential residues to be detected and a need for accurate results many producers are using Randox Food Diagnostics technology to carry out sample analysis.

With the development of the patented Biochip Array Technology Randox have consolidated the testing of multiple residues down to one sample which means time and cost saving for the meat industry. For example, with one Biochip a meat producer’s laboratory could test for 9 different growth promoter residues.

The technology centres on the Biochip, a 9mm2 ceramic chip which acts as the reaction well where samples are placed, requiring little technical expertise for preparation. Each chip is spotted with the antibodies required to detect the individual analytes being tested for and can accommodate up to 43 analytes. Food laboratories can then detect 43 different residues with one test.

The biochip works on the Evidence Investigator (Semi-Automated) and Evidence MultiSTAT(Automated) analysers. These analysers are used as the imaging stations for the biochips. Each spotted test site sends out a chemiluminescent signal which is detected by the analyser, processed, quantified and validated by the instrument software.

With a simple process, fast method and trusted results many of the world’s top meat producers are investing in Biochip Array Technology to ensure the safety and quality of their products.

For more information please contact us at: info@randoxfooddiagnostics.com.

 

 

 


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.

Dairy Market

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.

Meat Market

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.

Seafood Market

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.

Feed Market

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.

Honey Market

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.

Detection

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: info@randoxfood.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


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