The History of FARAD

Consumers rightly expect that the products they purchase are of high quality. This is especially true for foods. Just as there are standards for quality in the manufacture of automobiles, there are standards of quality for animal-derived foods (meat, milk and eggs). The two most visible food safety issues related to animal-derived foods are microbial and chemical contaminants. Safety is as important for foods as it is for automobiles, and thus strict safety standards are set for foods. Unlike automobiles which are manufactured in a limited number of factories, food animal production is widely distributed in thousands of locations, and is more difficult to monitor. Thus, voluntary producer quality assurance programs are very important.

Because food safety is a visible and controversial consumer issue, and safety concerns affect the marketing of animal-derived foods, responsible producers are expanding and publicizing their quality assurance programs. In addition, since 1982, the USDA Extension Service has been involved in an educational/service project to further enhance the safety of animal-derived foods. The Residue Avoidance Program (RAP), which was initially founded by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), targeted the area of chemical residues. The aim of the RAP was to reduce the rate of animal residue violations through education, rather than enforcement. As part of the RAP, the Food Animal Residue Avoidance & Depletion Program (FARAD) program was developed by pharmacologists and toxicologists at the University of California, Davis, University of Florida, North Carolina State University and the University of Illinois.

For the last 35 years, with strong support from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), FARAD has grown to be the information portal for veterinarians and other conscientious producers to obtain up-to-date and practical residue avoidance information for the use of Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA)-allowed extra-label drugs in food animals and avoiding contaminant residues after accidental exposures. FARAD was permanently authorized by the US Congress in 1998 (AREERA PL 105-185) and has been reauthorized in every Farm Bill since this time.

Today, FARAD is a university-based consortium that is overseen and operated by faculty and staff at four colleges or schools of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California-Davis, the University of Florida, Kansas State University and North Carolina State University.