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J Food Prot. 2014 Jan;77(1):122-6. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-13-199.

Tetracycline residues in porcine stomach after administration via drinking water on a swine farm.

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Center for Chemical Toxicology and Pharmacokinetics, Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, USA.
The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.
Campbell University College of Arts and Sciences, Buies Creek, North Carolina 27506, USA.


Tetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used to treat infections in swine. The maximum residue levels of tetracycline in pork stomach tissue in Russia, Europe, and the United States are 10, 200, and 2,000 ppb, respectively. This difference in accepted safety levels may be the reason why stomach tissues that the United States exports continue to be residue violators in overseas markets. In this study, 30 pigs at two different stages of production (weanling and finisher) were treated with tetracycline at 22 mg/kg of body weight per day for a total of 5 days via a water medicator. Blood samples were collected at 0, 72, 78, 96, and 102 h after the start of medication. The medication was stopped at 120 h, and blood samples were again collected at 126, 144, 168, 192, and 216 h after exposure. Five animals were slaughtered for stomach tissue 0, 24, 48, 96, and 192 h after the drug was flushed from the water line. All blood and tissue samples were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography-UV methods. The tetracycline levels in plasma were below the level of detection after the U.S.-labeled withdrawal time of 4 days. The stomach tissue residues averaged 671.72, 330.31, 297.77, 136.36, and 268.08 ppb on withdrawal days 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8, respectively. Using the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tolerance limit method and a population-based pharmacokinetic model with Monte Carlo simulation, a withdrawal interval was estimated. This study demonstrated that tetracycline residues are still detectable in the stomach tissues after the established United States withdrawal time of 4 days. These residue levels may explain why stomach tissues tested in Russia and Europe show positive residues for tetracycline, even though the meat may pass inspection here in the United States prior to export.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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