Emergency slaughter of casualty cattle increases the prevalence of anthelmintic drug residues in muscle

K.M. Cooper, M. Whyte, M. Danaher, D.G. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The ProSafeBeef project studied the prevalence of residues of anthelmintic drugs used to control parasitic worms and fluke in beef cattle in Ireland. Injured (casualty) cattle may enter the human food chain under certain conditions, verified by an attending veterinarian and the livestock keeper. An analytical survey was conducted to determine if muscle from casualty cattle contained a higher prevalence of anthelmintic drug residues than healthy (full slaughter weight) cattle as a result of possible non-observance of complete drug withdrawal periods. A validated analytical method based on matrix solid-phase dispersive extraction (QuEChERS) and ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry was used to quantify 37 anthelmintic drugs and metabolites in muscle (assay decision limits, CCa, 0.15-10.2 µg kg -1). Of 199 control samples of beef purchased in Irish shops, 7% contained detectable anthelmintic drug residues but all were compliant with European Union Maximum Residue Limits (MRL). Of 305 muscle samples from injured cattle submitted to abattoirs in Northern Ireland, 17% contained detectable residues and 2% were non-compliant (containing either residues at concentrations above the MRL or residues of a compound unlicensed for use in cattle). Closantel and ivermectin were the most common residues, but a wider range of drugs was detected in muscle of casualty cattle than in retail beef. These data suggest that specific targeting of casualty cattle for testing for anthelmintic residues may be warranted in a manner similar to the targeted testing for antimicrobial compounds often applied in European National Residues Surveillance Schemes. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1263-1271
Number of pages9
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Toxicology
  • General Chemistry

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