A new notice from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) indicates that it is going to take a harder look at slaughter plants that continue to accept animals from livestock suppliers that have had repeated violative residues.

FSIS says, “The ‘same source supplier’ is any person, farm, sale barn, or other firm from which the establishment has received or purchased animals with violative residue levels of the same or different chemical compounds”

FSIS public health veterinarians (PHVs) are instructed to increase testing of animals that the establishment receives from the “same source supplier” and are instructed to consider increasing scrutiny and testing of animals from a particular supplier when they have knowledge of findings of residue violations in animals from that supplier.

The FSIS notice says that the PHV is to test two or more animals each time the establishment receives animals from the supplier and use his or her professional judgment to determine whether additional samples are necessary including up to 100% testing of animals from the supplier to ensure that product from animals with violative residues is not introduced into the human food supply. The PHV is to continue this level of residue testing until the tests for four consecutive, separate shipments from the supplier are negative. These consecutive findings are necessary to demonstrate that the establishment’s determination that it can rely on the supplier to provide animals that do not contain violative residues is justified.

It’s the slaughter plants that will take the heat for repeatedly buying animals from these sources that continue to have violations, and that can result in non-compliance and HACCP issues for the plant. They in turn will most likely cut off those sources to protect their own food safety programs.

The bottom line here is that is this is an opportunity for veterinarians to work even closer with their dairies, feedlots, cow-calf producers, sale barns and other clients to either institute, monitor or muscle up residue avoidance programs. There are a multitude of resources out there on residue avoidance programs for all sectors – make sure your clients adhere to them if they haven’t already.

Click here for resources and downloads from the Beef Quality Assurance program that includes information on cow-calf, stocker, dairy, feedlot, auction market and trucker quality assurance programs.