β-Agonists (beta-agonists or Beta adrenergic agonists) are used in veterinary medicine to treat pulmonary disorders, but have also been used illegally as growth promoters for more efficient meat production. In the United States, β-agonists are approved by the FDA for use in cattle, and improve the efficiency of beef production by increasing muscle growth and may also reduce fat accumulation. Use of β-agonists means less feed and water are used to produce the same amount of beef, making the process more efficient; but analysis has shown increased mortality in cattle as a result, which raises welfare questions over their use.
Veterinary therapeutic use of β-agonists has only been approved in the case of clenbuterol for bronchodilatation in horses and calves and for tocolysis in cows. β-agonists have not been permitted in the European Community for growth-promoting purposes in farm animals, because of the potential hazard for human and animal health.
Fera’s food safety scientists can screen your food samples to check residue levels and confirm they are not present where not permitted, for example from use as illicit growth promoters. Fera screens for the following β-agonists as part of this test: Bromobuterol, Cimaterol, Cimbuterol, Clenbuterol, Clenpenterol, Clenproperol, Hydroxymethylclenbuterol, Isoxsuprine, Mabuterol, Mapenterol, Ractopamine, Ritodrine, Salbutamol, Salmeterol, Terbutaline, Tulobuterol, and Zilpaterol. Tests are undertaken in a range of matrices, including but not limited to: dairy products, muscle (of some species), Liver (of some species) and urine.
Screening food samples is essential to ensure compliance with regulations, both for food producers in the EU, but also for checking residues in imported food products from countries where their use may be permitted.
Maximum residue limits (MRLs) are defined in Commission Regulation (EU) 37/2010 (or as amended), just for clenbuterol hydrochloride, for cattle and horses. For this β-agonist only, MRLs have been set in muscle, kidney, liver and milk. In addition, surveillance for the presence of residues of veterinary agents in food-producing animals and meat is regulated by the Directive 96/23/EC containing specific guidelines for sampling procedures on farms and in slaughterhouses.
Food experts at Fera can accurately analyse your food samples for β-agonists using our state-of-the-art liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), to accurately detect β-agonist residues. The method has been validated in accordance with the principles set out in Commission Decision 2002/657/EC, for the majority of analyte / matrix combinations. Results are rapidly returned, with standard turnaround being 10 days after receipt of samples, and for your peace of mind and confidence I our ability, the test process is accredited to ISO17025 by UKAS. Our scientists have over 30 years of experience in testing for veterinary medicine residues in food.
Standard Turnaround Time
|5 working days|
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