Last week’s Washington Report carried information from FSIS news release about the changes to the agency’s National Residue Program (NRP).  Following is further information about FSIS’ “New Analytical Methods and Sampling Procedures for the United States National Residue Program for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products.”  The changes described in the notice are to be implemented within 30 days.  FSIS implements the National Residue Program in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The EPA and FDA set tolerances for residues while FSIS tests for approved and unapproved veterinary drugs, pesticides, hormones, and environmental contaminants in meat, poultry, and egg products.  When a compound is found in excess of the established tolerance or action level in a sample, the product is not permitted to enter commerce.

The new NRP will consist of four testing programs – Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, and import sampling.  Specifically, Tier 1 schedule sampling program eliminates the paired sampling program.  FSIS will implement a multi-residue method and assessment for more compounds per individual sample.  Under Tier 1, FSIS will rotate the production classes and collect up to 800 samples per production class.

Under both the old and new NRP, the public health veterinarians are able to take targeted samples for residues if they suspect that animals or carcasses may contain residues (Tier 2). Tier 3, and perhaps the most concerning, is related to targeted testing at the herd or flock level.  This tier will be similar to the exploratory assessment; however, it will involve more than one bird or one animal.  FSIS is aware that certain compounds may be administered to a flock or a herd, or that livestock and birds can be unintentionally exposed to an environmental contaminant.  FSIS is developing a means of testing in the situation that information suggests a herd or flock may be implicated.

There appears to be significant changes to the scheduled sampling program component of the residue sampling program.  Additionally, FSIS is implementing a new multi-residue method that will analyze for 52 anayltes at the same time in a single sample.  Other changes are being considered for herd/flock assessments when there are concerns brought to the Agency’s attention that could have an impact on a group of animals. FSIS intends to implement these changes in 30 days.  NCC is expressing concern with the Agency and especially Tier 3.

A copy of the July 6 Federal Register notice can be found here.