Archives/Subscribe | March 14, 2016

Pew Study Criticizes USDA’s Chemical Testing Program

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A study by Pew Charitable Trusts has identified "major deficiencies" in USDA’s National Residue Program that tests meat and poultry products for drug and chemical exposure.

Pew said its analysis raises questions about how the program, run by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), prioritizes the selection of compounds based on their public health risk to consumers. Pew said it found major deficiencies in data transparency and the quality of reporting on compound selection.

Some compounds that experts agree pose a significant public health hazard, such as dioxins and certain heavy metals, are not routinely tested for, while others that pose little risk regularly are included in sampling plans, the report said.
In many cases, the program offers no justification for decisions to exclude drugs such as dexamethasone and dipyrone, which scored higher in the NRP’s published risk assessment than several monitored compounds, Pew said. Decisions to include some compounds, such as avermectins, are based at least in part on studies that are outdated or were not peer-reviewed, it said.

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