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Livestock producers, veterinarians and feed producers recognize residue avoidance as the key to consumer confidence, and are enhancing and formalizing programs which will permeate every facet of the production system. The development of effective residue avoidance and quality assurance programs requires access to a vast array of information. The Food Animal Residue Avoidance & Depletion Program (FARAD) offers the means to provide this information. FARAD is a computer-based decision support system designed to provide livestock producers, Extension specialists, and veterinarians with practical information on how to avoid drug, pesticide and environmental contaminant residue problems. The drugs and pesticides used in modern animal agriculture improve animal health and thereby promote more efficient and humane production.
Wherever drugs are used to treat sick animals or prevent disease, there is a potential that residues may be incurred. The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), which must approve all drugs meant to be marketed for use in animals, establishes tolerances for drug residues (similar to speed limits) to insure food safety. The USFDA also establishes “withdrawal times” or “withholding periods” which are times after drug treatment when milk and eggs are not to be used for food, and during which animals are not to be slaughtered. This allows time to the animals to eliminate the drug residues.
FARAD is a repository of comprehensive residue avoidance information. FARAD is also sanctioned to provide these estimates to the United States Pharmacopeia-Drug Information (USP-DI) Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee. Since 1982 FARAD has been working with producers, Extension Specialists and Agents, and veterinarians to help avoid and mitigate residue problems. As a cooperative multi-state program, FARAD is available nationwide to offer advice about residue avoidance.
FARAD personnel at the University of California, Davis and the University of Florida comb through numerous sources of residue avoidance information and extract information that will be of greatest use. These data are reviewed by residue experts to insure accuracy and consistency, and further analysis is done by FARAD personnel to explore novel ways in which the data may be used to prevent residue problems. FARAD maintains an up-to-date computerized compilation of:
- Current label information including withdrawal times on all drugs approved for use in food animals in the United States and on hundreds of products used in Canada, Europe and Australia.
- Official tolerances for drugs and pesticides in tissues, eggs and milk.
- Descriptions and sensitivities of rapid screening tests for detecting chemical residues in tissues, eggs and milk.
- Data on the fate of chemicals in food animals.
Anyone who has a question about how to prevent residues in animal-derived foods is encouraged to call FARAD for assistance. Food animal veterinarians and Extension specialists are currently the major users of FARAD information. The -FARAD Regional Access Centers operate during normal business hours. Most questions can be answered immediately; however, complex response may require a couple of days. 1-888-USFARAD [873-2723]. For best results, submit your question online by clicking here.