Spanish researchers detect animal antibiotics in baby food

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 21st May 2012

Spanish researchers say residues of antibiotics given to livestock that were detected in various samples of baby food show a need for control.

The study, from the University of Almeria, was published in the Food Chemistry journal. The study suggests that the presence of antibiotics could be because in some farms there is no thorough control on the administration of drugs to animals.

Until now, the European Commission has regulated the levels of pesticides and other substances in cereal based foods for children and babies, but not in animal based foods.

In many countries, including Australia, a zero tolerance policy is applied to veterinary drugs in food, as they can cause allergic reactions, resistance to antibiotics and other health problems.

The study found that antibiotics, such as tilmicosine, or antiparasitic drugs, such as levamisole, given to livestock in order to avoid illness, can remain later in food.

University of Almeria’s Professor of Analytical Chemistry, Antonia Garrido said, “The concentrations detected have been generally very low. On one hand, this suggests they are not worrying amounts, on the other hand, it shows the need to control these products to guarantee food safety.”

The researchers analysed twelve meat products (cow, pig or poultry) and nine milk powder samples. Data indicated that concentrations of veterinary drugs varied from 0.5 to 25.2 µg/kg in the former and 1.2 to 26.2 µg/kg in the latter “although with more samples, more conclusive results would be obtained”.

In Australia, the national regulator of pesticides and veterinary medicines, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Association (APVMA) assesses animal antibiotics proposed for sale in Australia and determines how they are used. Only those antibiotic products approved by the APVMA can be supplied in Australia.