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Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2012;29(5):746-60. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2011.653696. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Anthelmintic drug residues in beef: UPLC-MS/MS method validation, European retail beef survey, and associated exposure and risk assessments.

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School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Veterinary Sciences Division, Stoney Road, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3SD, UK.


Anthelmintic drugs are widely used to control parasitic infections in cattle. The ProSafeBeef project addressed the need for data on the exposure of European consumers of beef to potentially harmful drug residues. A novel analytical method based on matrix solid-phase dispersive extraction and ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry was validated for 37 anthelmintic drugs and metabolites in muscle (assay decision limits, CCα, = 0.15-10.2 µg kg⁻¹). Seven European countries (France, Spain, Slovenia, Ireland, Italy, Belgium and Portugal) participated in a survey of retail beef purchased in local shops. Of 1061 beef samples analysed, 26 (2.45%) contained detectable residues of anthelmintic drugs (0.2-171 µg kg⁻¹), none above its European Union maximum residue limit (MRL) or action level. Residues detected included closantel, levamisole, doramectin, eprinomectin, moxidectin, ivermectin, albendazole and rafoxanide. In a risk assessment applied to mean residue concentrations across all samples, observed residues accounted for less than 0.1% of the MRL for each compound. An exposure assessment based on the consumption of meat at the 99th percentile of consumption of adults in 14 European countries demonstrated that beef accounted for less than 0.02% of the acceptable daily intake for each compound in each country. This study is the first of its kind to apply such a risk-based approach to an extensive multi-residue survey of veterinary drug residues in food. It has demonstrated that the risk of exposure of the European consumer to anthelmintic drug residues in beef is negligible, indicating that regulation and monitoring is having the desired effect of limiting residues to non-hazardous concentrations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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