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FSSAI issues training manual for veterinary drug residue analysis in food
Monday, 07 May, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
FSSAI, India’s apex food regulator, has issued a training manual for the veterinary drug and pesticide residue analysis in food products. It shall be used for programmes like training of trainers to educate the food analysts about analytical techniques to identify such harmful drugs present in the food products.

Experts opined that it would help in taking preventive measures, as the manual prescribed the prohibited drugs and their maximum residue levels (MRLs).

The current manual borrows the majority of its content and structure from the Training of Trainers (ToT) manual prepared by the International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL) partners, the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN).

It will help food testing labs primarily in routine monitoring, determination and control of residues of some veterinary drugs in animal products.

The manual consists of analytical techniques and methods in the form of standard operating procedures for testing selected veterinary drug residues in some animal products. It covers a number of chromatographic-spectrometric techniques.

According to the experts, the presence of residues of banned substances/substances permitted but exceeding the prescribed limits by the regulatory authorities in case of veterinary drugs, pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutically active substances in products of animal origin (like muscle, liver, kidney, fish-flesh, egg, milk, honey, etc.) and from various species (like bovine, ovine, porcine, caprine, poultry, rabbit, farmed fish, etc.) is a matter of concern for public health.

As a consequence, national food safety authorities and regulatory authorities have either banned its use or strictly regulated its use in veterinary practice or established legal guidance to ensure proper use of these substances.

“The successful implementation of national regulation and surveillance monitoring depends on availability of reliable analytical techniques. Various techniques are available, employed and are in practice like immunoassay for screening and liquid chromatography with ultra-violet, fluorescence detection and mass spectrometry to determine and identify the commercially available veterinary drugs, pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutically active substances in products of animal origin,” said the manual.

Explaining the manual, Ashwin Bhadri, chief executive officer, Equinox Labs, said, “It is an issue which was long awaited and had to be resolved for public welfare. The advent of a training manual is for the optimum utilisation of veterinary drugs, which will benefit tremendously and prevent the outburst of its consequences.”

“The training manual educates about analytical techniques which can be implemented to test selected veterinary drug residues which are proved to be harmful. With this initiative of FSSAI, there will be a clarification on list of drugs which are prohibited and the MRLs,” he added.

Also, out of the two analytical techniques that are at the disposal, one can use either the screening or the confirmatory methods, whichever proves to be convenient and economical.

“Nevertheless, the use of such methods will only add to consumer safety and hygiene. This will emphasise on the Indian veterinary drug standards, ensuring trust in consumers and suppliers and achieving toxin-free food products,” he concluded.
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