Zero tolerance for the antibacterial will be enforced.

After lengthy talks with U.S. officials over the use of carbadox in U.S. hogs, Canada has announced it will allow the importation of U.S. pork products that may have been raised using carbadox.

However, a zero tolerance will be enforced for residues of carbadox in imported pork products, says Paul Sundberg, DVM, vice president of Science and Technology, National Pork Board.

Canada is the third-largest destination for U.S. pork products, valued at $437 million in 2006.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of carbadox as an antibacterial to control certain gastrointestinal pathogens and to improve feed efficiency in swine. It is approved for use in swine for up to 42 days before slaughter and is marketed under the brand name Mecadox by Phibro Animal Health.

Carbadox was banned by the Canadian government and is also banned in the European Union. Differences in testing methods and how the safety of the compound is analyzed have led to different interpretations of the scientific information about the product, explains Sundberg.

Canada will conduct a test and release inspection of U.S. pork imports at the border. In turn, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service will continue to test for carbadox as part of the National Residue Program.

Sundberg reminds pork producers they can still use carbadox despite the differences between the United States and Canada, provided they follow Pork Quality Assurance Plus' Good Production Practices:

  • Follow the product manufacturer's instructions for mixing, administration and withdrawal;

  • Identify all animals and keep accurate records of all animals given carbadox to ensure that withdrawal times are completed before animals are marketed;

  • Ensure all feeders, mixers and other equipment are completely purged and cleaned between batches of feed to avoid cross-contamination of feed with carbadox;

  • Empty feeders and bins between groups of animals to ensure animals that are not supposed to receive carbadox do not have access to it;

  • Clearly identify all animal health products, including carbadox, and all feeds and medicated feeds; and

  • Communicate with all employees and workers of the importance of following appropriate withdrawal times for carbadox and all other animal health products.