Maximum Residue Levels in times of Antibiotic Resistance

Many food animals cope with overcrowding, transport, disease, lack of exercise, aka stress 1 2 , while farmers aim to maximize food production for an ever demanding market. To bring out the best of both worlds, the food animal industry’s medical cabinet contains a wide range of anti-infectious agents, antibiotics, anti-parasitics, tranquillizers, psychotic drugs, corticoides, and fertility regulators.

Residues of these pharmaceutical compounds are a potential threat for public health. Many markets therefore work with Maximum Residue Level (MRLs) regulations. MRLs indicate how much of each pharmaceutical compound may be present in the food at the moment the consumer buys it. The regulation for “pharmacologically active substances and their classification regarding maximum residue limits in foodstuffs of animal origin” of the EU includes over 600 compounds, fifty-seven of which are antibiotic agents 3.

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