Caution in use of animal remedies used in food-producing animals

Notice type: Advisory

Date: 20/05/2011


Product name or type:
Veterinary medicines administered to food-producing animals

Target Audience:
Farming public

Problem Or Issue:
Through its work in reviewing reports of suspected adverse reactions to veterinary medicines (e.g. untoward effects, lack of effectiveness, detection of drug residues etc.) over recent years, the IMB has become aware that in a small number of cases, some individual users might not always be using animal remedies in accordance with their stated directions. The incorrect use of veterinary medicines could result in residues being detected and milk or meat being rejected as unfit for human consumption as well as financial penalties for those involved.

Background Information Or Related Documents:
The IMB is responsible for monitoring the ongoing safety and effectiveness of animal remedies following authorisation, under a common EU system. Any report of a suspected adverse reaction, including lack of effectiveness as well as drug residue violations are reviewed and monitored. Each year the IMB receives 100-200 reports of suspected reactions, a few of which involve the use of animal remedies in a manner outside their approved conditions of use. 

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is responsible for enforcement of food legislation while the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is responsible for monitoring drug residues in foods and produce of animals used for human consumption. 

Caution in use of animal remedies used in food-producing animals Document

Actions To Be Taken:
The IMB would like to remind users of veterinary medicines of the following: 
1. The conditions of use of animal remedies are established following a detailed scientific and evidence-based evaluation of the quality, safety and efficacy of each individual medicine. Deviations from those conditions of use established by the IMB will invalidate the expected performance of the product under field conditions. In particular, users are reminded to strictly adhere to the withdrawal periods stated on the product packaging. 
2. The use of an animal remedy at a dose above that stated on the product label might be expected to prolong the time needed by the animal to clear residues of the medicine beyond that given as the withdrawal period for the product. 
3. Where a product is used in a dry-cow and that animal calves early, the withdrawal period to be observed should follow the instructions for use given on the product i.e. an adjustment to take into account the normal period before calving plus the relevant withdrawal period following calving. 
4. The administration to an animal of different animal remedies at the same time (or within a short period) could result in interactions between the individual medicines. In particular, the withdrawal periods might not be sufficient in situations where two or more drugs follow the same metabolic and elimination pathways from the animal. 
5. Consult your veterinary practitioner, pharmacist or licensed merchant regarding the use of veterinary medicines. 
6. Ensure that the Animal Remedies Record is updated on each occasion that a veterinary medicine is administered. 

Further Information:
Commensurate with its role in the protection of animal health, the IMB will continue to monitor reports of suspected adverse reactions and to provide further advice as necessary.

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