The use of veterinary drugs in the food industry is a hot topic with both consumers and regulatory agencies. The public is becoming increasingly concerned with the routine use of antibiotics, hormones, beta agonists and many more compounds in food production due to the potential effects on human health. Foods that are most commonly affected by these drugs are foods that most of us eat on a weekly basis and include: meat, milk and eggs. Check out our “fun” facts below to learn more about veterinary drugs and the food industry.

#1 Some of the first “cures” used on animals had very interesting names, such as: Lee’s Gizzard Capsules, Liquid Hog Medicine, and Kow-Kure. While the actual effectiveness and safety of these drugs in unconfirmed and the ingredients used are unknown, they at least had snappy names.

#2 Like drugs for humans, veterinary drugs must be approved by the FDA before they can be put on the market. The drug manufacturer must provide evidence, e.g. data from clinical trials, etc., that the drug is safe for use on the intended animal.

#3 One of the main concerns about the use of vet drugs is the possibility that their overuse, or “off-label” use, will cause the targeted organisms to become resistant to treatments. Drug resistant organisms, aka “Superbugs,” originating in food animals could be transmitted to humans where treatment can be very difficult because of the bacteria’s ability to survive courses of multiple antibiotics leading to very sick individuals.

#4 Besides treating animals that are actually sick, many of these drug types have handy side-effects like increasing growth rate, decreasing blood letting time after slaughter, improving color in pig and calf meat and promoting muscle leanness. All of these decrease the cost of production and increases the amount of product available to meet demand.

#5 Regulatory agencies, such as the USDA and the FDA, as well as international regulatory authorities, have put in place strict standards on withdrawal times and maximum residue levels in the final product going to market. The withdrawal period is the interval between the last dose of treatment in an animal and the time when the animal is eligible for slaughter. This also applies to milk; milk from cows being treated or within the withdrawal period of a vet drug must be discarded.

Fun facts are great but allowing Mérieux NutriSciences to be your full-service provider when it comes to veterinary drug testing is even better! We provide reliable testing for over 100 veterinary drugs (hormones, beta-agonists, NSAIDs, antibiotics, etc.) in a wide variety of food matrices. We offer single or multi-screening methods (LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS) depending on your customizable needs. Reach out today for more information on how you can start testing your meat or dairy products.



EXTRA! A bonus fun fact is that Mérieux NutriSciences has scientific roots dating back to the early 1800’s. When the company officially began in the mid-1900’s, it was a world leader in the fields of human and veterinary vaccines. To learn more about the history of Mérieux NutriSciences, watch this short video!

Meet the Author

Katie Schott
Product Specialist, Mérieux NutriSciences

Katie Schott is a Product Specialist supporting Chemistry and Microbiology business initiatives at Mérieux NutriSciences. She received her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Purdue University in 2013. In her free time, Katie enjoys reading, traveling, weightlifting and taking her dog for long walks by the lake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>