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Japan to impose new maximum residue limits on pork

Agriculture.com Staff 05/17/2006 @ 10:15am

If Japan is to remain a viable market for U.S. pork, producers may have to get tougher on how their hogs are treated with drugs, according to the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

The Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to implement new maximum residue limits for veterinary drugs in food, including pork and pork products on May 29.

While most industry experts believe producers who sell hogs to packers exporting to Japan will be able to satisfy the Japanese requirements, hog farmers are advised to determine if they need to make any changes in their production practices.

"It's important that U.S. pork producers take this issue seriously," said Phil Seng, CEO of the United States Meat Export Federation. "The United States can't afford to lose this essential market, and unfortunately, just one out-of-compliance animal could put this strategic market at risk," Seng cautioned.

Around 45 percent of all U.S. pork is exported to Japan, a market that brings in $1.070 billion.

U.S. pork producers are currently required to adhere to animal health product withdrawal standards determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. By following product label guidelines, producers will be able to meet most of the new Japanese standards as well.

However, producers are advised to take the following steps to learn if the new regulations will require any changes to their animal health product use:

• Contact your packer and determine if your product is being exported to Japan and impacted by the new maximum residue limits.

• Visit http://www.pork.org/producers/JapanMRL.aspx for current information and to determine if the medications you're using have withdrawal periods that are affected by the new standards.

• Contact your veterinarian to discuss changes to your herd health program if your use of animal health products is impacted.

Japanese residue monitoring protocols require testing to be done at or near any identified injection sites. Producers are encouraged to work with your veterinarian to consider product choices in the finisher phase and to develop appropriate treatment methods.

If Japan is to remain a viable market for U.S. pork, producers may have to get tougher on how their hogs are treated with drugs, according to the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

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