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Forskningsartikel2024Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Withdrawal periods after treatment of pigs with oxytetracycline in- and outside the European Union

Lund, Daniel Hjorth; Petersen, Jesper Valentin; Antunovic, Boris; Belous, Madalina; Bonardi, Silvia; Garcia-Gimeno, Rosa Maria; Jenson, Ian; Kautto, Arja H.; Majewski, Michal; Oorburg, Derk; Sakaridis, Ioannis; Sirbu, Alexandrina; Vieira-Pinto, Madalena; Vagsholm, Ivar; Alban, Lis


Withdrawal periods are used to avoid animals being delivered to slaughter before the concentration of the antimicrobial has declined to values below the maximum residue limit (MRL). This paper characterises the withdrawal periods in force for oxytetracycline 100 mg/ml for intramuscular use in pigs. We investigated the variation in duration of the withdrawal period between 68 oxytetracycline products from 29 countries in- and outside the European Union. More specifically, we tested whether there is a regional difference, a difference between major and minor pig meat exporting countries, whether the product is long-acting or not, and whether year of market authorisation correlated with the withdrawal period. The results showed a large variation in duration of the withdrawal periods, ranging from 5 to 40 days. Variation was observed both between and within countries. Moreover, major exporting countries were associated with a longer withdrawal period than minor exporting countries (P = 0.00099). There were no regional differences, and the year of market authorisation had no impact, but long-acting products had a shorter withdrawal period than short-acting products (P = 0.048). The variation in withdrawal periods observed questions the utility of using compliance with the withdrawal period as a means of assessing whether the meat is safe for consumption. This is particularly relevant when a pig producer unintentionally delivers pigs for slaughter before the withdrawal period has expired and, aware of this, informs the abattoir. The findings call for further harmonisation in determining the withdrawal periods for all veterinary medicinal products (VMP). Until this happens, if animals are prematurely sent to slaughter, we suggest that the concentration of the VMP at the time of slaughter is calculated and compared with the MRL to determine meat safety.


Meat safety; Antimicrobial; Maximum residue limit; Withdrawal period; Acceptable daily intake; Risk management; Harmonisation

Publicerad i

Food Control
2024, Volym: 155, artikelnummer: 110071