Now that U.S. pork exports comprise more than 20% of U.S. production and post-harvest testing capabilities are more precise than ever, it’s time to ensure that withdrawal times of antibiotics are closely adhered to.

“Producers need to ensure that all animal health products are used properly and in accordance with their veterinarian’s direction, says Steve Larsen, director of Pork Safety for the Pork Checkoff. “This means keeping good records and not shipping an animal if it hasn’t met its required withdrawal period prior to harvest.”

It’s critical to maintain a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship for the continued success of U.S. pork exports and continued confidence in the domestic market. This becomes especially true as international markets evolve and change their purchasing requirements for U.S. pork, typically involving residue levels in meat or meat products, referred to as maximum residue levels (MRLs).

“Ensuring that MRLs are within specified guidelines demonstrates the industry’s We Care principles in how producers care for their animals and the food they produce,” Larsen says.

Current information on 76 pharmaceutical compounds used in swine can be found at www.pork.org; search for “withdrawal times” and click on the first result. Scroll to the bottom of the page for access to a searchable database.