November 6, 2013 by Carrie Mess
Back in September I had the opportunity to attend the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Conference (AABP) in Milwaukee. While I am not a cow Vet, I found the conference to be very informative and really enjoyed talking to Vets from across the country about the issues that they see in our food and farm world.
As part of the AABP event, there is a trade show with everything from vaccines to ultrasound machines to waterproof pants. It was at this tradeshow that I met Danielle Lindquist a Vet student at NC State and learned about FARAD. After talking with Danielle and learning more about what FARAD does to keep our food safe I asked her to write a guest blog for me that explains what they do and why. I am so thankful for the groups we have in our country that help to protect our food supply and ensure that we have safe food. So what is FARAD? Let’s let the expert tell us!
What is FARAD?
The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD) is a congressionally-mandated risk-management program that is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program is maintained by a consortium of universities, including University of California-Davis (UCD), University of Florida (UF), Kansas State University (KSU) and North Carolina State University (NCSU).FARAD’s primary mission is to prevent or mitigate illegal or harmful residues of drugs, pesticides, biotoxins and other chemical agents that may contaminate foods of animal origin.
FARAD is a university-based national program that serves as the primary source for scientifically-based recommendations regarding safe withdrawal intervals of drugs and chemicals in food-producing animals. As such, FARAD is a key resource for protection of our nation’s food supply, including meat, milk and eggs, against accidental contamination of animal-derived foods with violative residues of drugs, pesticides or other agents that could compromise food safety.
Modern animal agriculture relies heavily on the use of therapeutic drugs, pesticides and other agents that improve overall animal health and promote safe, efficient and humane production practices. Through the assimilation of a comprehensive drug database and the use of state-of-the-art pharmacokinetic modeling, FARAD scientists determine appropriate withdrawal periods for a wide array of chemical entities and provide this information to veterinarians, extension specialists and livestock producers through a toll-free call center as well as a publically-accessible web site (farad.org). In addition, FARAD provides rapid response assistance regarding extra-label use of drugs in animal agriculture, and during food contamination emergencies which might arise from accidental exposure to environmental toxins, particularly pesticides, or intentional efforts to contaminate the food supply. Finally, FARAD provides assistance in trade matters related to foreign drug approvals and trains future veterinarians in the principles of residue avoidance.
Why have you decided to focus on this area of Veterinary Medicine?
As a current food animal medicine focused veterinary student, my role in FARAD gives me an experience unmatched by any other research program. Not only do I learn and conduct research about residue avoidance and common drug protocols to protect the health of food producing species, I get the opportunity to share my research with the public, educating them on the importance of FARAD’s role in protecting our nation’s animals. If you ever questioned a food animal veterinarian’s role in society, go back to hurricane Katrina. Take away food sustainability, and the world erupts into chaos. Our role in FARAD is to offer a proactive response to food safety, and we work every day to ensure the quality and safety of our nation’s food supply.
Danielle Lindquist is a current second year veterinary student is NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Danielle earned her undergraduate degree from NC State in zoology and animal science in 2012 and has spent the last 4 years working for the FDA-CVM and Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank. She currently works as an ORISE/FDA-CVM Research fellow and also runs a community outreach program at NC State, talking with the public about the importance of veterinary medicine.