An audit from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) on the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) National Residue Program for Cattle calls for more residue testing in beef plants, tighter thresholds and more aggressive recalls. Based on its review, the OIG says the national residue program is not accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for harmful drug and pesticide residues. “Together, FSIS, FDA, and EPA have not established thresholds for many dangerous substances, which has resulted in meat with these substances being distributed in commerce. Additionally, FSIS does not attempt to recall meat, even when its tests have confirmed the excessive presence of veterinary drugs.”

The report identifies four issues relating to coordination between FSIS, EPA, and FDA, saying the agencies need to:

  1. Expand the substances they test.
  2. Improve their methodology for sampling hazardous residues.
  3. Determine more efficient ways of approving newer methods of testing for drug residues.
  4. Collaborate to set tolerances for additional residues.

The full report is available online from OIG.