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According to the Food Safety News, Russia announced in February that they would halt imports of beef, pork and turkey unless the US meat is certified free of ractopamine. For producers, processors, importers and exporters of animal-based food products and feed, the risk of failing to comply with legally permitted maximum limits can affect not only a brand but profits in the U.S and internationally.

Ractopamine is a beta-agonist that increases protein synthesis in mature animals, resulting in increased muscle growth, feed efficiency and decreased days on feed. Ractopamine is the active ingredient in products marketed as Paylean™ for swine and Optaflexx™ for cattle by Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission has set new maximum residue limits (MRL’s) for ractopamine in pig and cattle tissue in an effort to improve the trade of meat containing the growth substance. Codex regulation allows no more than 10 parts per billion (ppb) for muscle cuts of beef and pork. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s limit is 30 ppb for beef and 50 ppb for pork. Ractopamine is currently allowed to be used as a growth promotant in 25 countries worldwide. The United States Department of Agriculture considers ractopamine safe and does not mandate testing for it.

SGS Brookings now has the capability to test ractopamine levels in meat tissue and feed products. Our experienced scientists have the expertise to offer quick turnaround times in testing meat for export.

Our laboratory also has extensive knowledge in relation to drug residue issues in feed and can provide testing to help ensure the safety of livestock products. Our laboratory uses High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence, based on Elanco methodology, for both medicated levels and residues in feed with a limit of quantification is 2.5 g/ton for feed.

Using in-house validation, and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service CLG-AGON1.03 method, HPLC-MS/MS (tandem mass spectrometry) is utilized to achieve even greater sensitivity in determining ractopamine levels in both meat tissue and liver with a level of detection of 0.5 ppb.

Besides ractopamine, SGS Brookings has the ability to detect other residue levels of antibiotics and contaminants. Utilizing an expanded in house validation of 20 antibiotics, as well as the FDA LIB 4438 method, common antibiotics can be tested in seafood, meat, milk, grains, and feed ingredients. Utilizing the increased sensitivity of the mass spectrometry instrument, levels of detection as low as 0.3 ppb can be achieved in some of the antibiotics.

Additionally, the Brookings laboratory can test for the presence of the drug Ivermectin in fish tissue. Ivermectin, which is approved in the US for use in cattle, sheep, and reindeer, is not approved for use in aquaculture in the US. Utilizing FDA LIB 4374, with the QuEChERS extraction and HPLC fluorescence detection, a 1 ppb limit of quantification can be achieved in fish tissue.

Melamine and cyanuric acid are other contaminants that the laboratory has been ISO17025 accredited for conducting analysis.

Angela Carlson
Analytical Lab Manager
241 34th Avenue
Brookings, SD, USA
t: +1-877-692-7611
f: +1-605-692-5908

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 75,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,500 offices and laboratories around the world.