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Clamp Down On Antibiotic Residues

17 June 2008

AUSTRALIA - A recent Queensland initiative to ramp up testing for chemical residues in calves have led to fresh demands that all cattle owners take measures to ensure calves sold for slaughter do not contain antibiotic residues.

Dr Sandra Baxendell, General Manager of Biosecurity Queensland's Chemical Use and Food Safety unit, said giving antibiotics to calves may increase risks of chemical residues, and local producers need to be aware of their legal obligations.

"Any calves receiving antibiotics, either directly or indirectly, must be identified and withheld from sale for slaughter for the withholding period," Dr Baxendell said.


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"Always check with your local vet before starting any treatment. Sometimes, antibiotics might not be the best treatment."
Dr Sandra Baxendell, General Manager of Biosecurity Queensland's Chemical Use and Food Safety unit

"The withholding period is the legal period between treatment and slaughter or collection of milk.

"Even if the calves are being sold to be reared, the purchaser must be notified of the treatments given, the date of that treatment, and its withholding period.

"These legal requirements are in place to make sure our food is safe.

"They're also there to ensure Queensland maintains access to export markets around the world - all of which check chemical residue levels in beef and meat products," she said.

Dr Baxendell said milk from lactating cows undergoing antibiotic treatment, which is then fed to calves, may also cause unacceptable antibiotic residue levels.

"Antibiotic treatment administered to cows during pregnancy or lactation, or treatment of calves for scours or pneumonia, for example, may cause unacceptable levels of residual antibiotic in calves if the withholding period is not observed.

"It's really important that all antibiotics are used in accordance with label directions and the prescribing veterinarian's directions.

"Always check with your local vet before starting any treatment. Sometimes, antibiotics might not be the best treatment.

"It you are selling calves you need to demonstrate adherence to withholding periods for any treatments by recording information on a bobby calf NVD/waybill prior to transportation.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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