Japan Adopts New Maximum Limits For Residues In Pork

U.S. pork production standards expected to satisfy most requirements.

Published on: May 3, 2006

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will implement new maximum residue limits for veterinary drugs in food including pork and pork products on May 29. Producers selling pork to packers exporting to Japan are expected to be able to satisfy these requirements but should take steps to find out if changes to their production practices are required.

"Japan is a valuable export market for US pork producers representing 45% of all United States pork exports at a value of $1.070 billion. It is important that U.S. pork producers take this issue seriously," says Phil Seng, Chief Executive Officer 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," cautions Seng.

Currently, U.S. pork producers are required to adhere to animal health product withdrawal standards determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Following product label guidelines, producers will satisfy most of the new Japanese guidelines as well.

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

  • Contact their packer and find out if their hogs are being channeled to the Japanese export market and therefore affected by these new regulations.  
  • Visit the Pork Checkoff's Web site to determine if medications being used in their production operation have withdrawal periods that are impacted by the new standards. This information can be found at: www.pork.org/producers/JapanMRL.aspx. This Web page will be updated as information from animal health companies is received.
  • Contact their herd veterinarian to discuss changes to their herd health program if their 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 their veterinarian to consider product choices in the finisher phase and to develop appropriate treatment protocols. Producers are also encouraged to review the material contained on the Pork Quality Assurance and the Take Care - Use Antibiotics Responsibly programs. These materials can be viewed on the Internet at pork.org or obtained through the Pork Checkoff Producer Service Center at (800) 456-PORK (7675).