WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released compliance guidelines aimed at keeping meat products that contain illegal residues out of the food supply.

The guidance calls for helping slaughter firms avoid buying animals with illegal drug or chemical residues and increasing testing of animal from producers with a history of residue violations. FSIS administers the National Residue Program. As part of the strategy, the agency has streamlined its Residue Repeat Violator list to include only producers who have supplied more than one animal with an illegal residue level in the past year.

"This new residue guidance will help industry to prevent certain animals from entering the marketplace and will contribute significantly toward our goal of protecting consumers," USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said. "Coupled with increased testing of those with a history of violations, we are providing a pathway for those producers to correct deficient practices."

FSIS said increased testing will apply to animals from producers who have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as producing livestock with residue violations. FSIS increased testing of animals from producers with residue violations in 2008. The agency also recently increased residue testing of carcasses in establishments that fail to apply adequate residue control measures.