When food producing animals are treated with antibiotics, hormones or anabolics, drug residues remain in the animal’s meat and milk. These residues may bear health risks for consumers.

“Residues are the remains of substances which are intentionally used during the production of foods.” (Source: BFR) These include veterinary drugs and pesticides. In order to protect consumers, maximum residue limits (MRLs) and monitoring programs have been established in many countries.

Our product portfolio includes various test systems, such as enzyme immunoassays (ELISAs), microbial inhibition tests and immunoaffinity columns for the detection of hormones, anabolics, antibiotics and other drug residues in different matrices.


Antibiotics are naturally formed metabolites derived from fungi or bacteria. Substances that do not occur in nature and are produced by modern biotechnology and chemical synthesis are called antibiotics as well. Antibiotics are able to kill microorganisms or inhibit their growth. In human and veterinary medicine, antibiotics are therefore used as drugs for the treatment of bacterial diseases.

Read more about antibiotics

Hormones and anabolics

Residues of hormones and anabolic steroids in foods such as meat or milk provide a potential health risk to consumers. Hormones are endogenous biochemical messengers which are transported through the bloodstream to their target organs. Besides natural sex hormones, synthetic steroids and beta-agonists can be used in livestock breeding to improve the average weight gain and the meat/fat-ratio.

Read more about anabolics and hormones

Other veterinary drugs

In addition to antibiotics and anabolics, animals are sometimes treated with further veterinary drugs which can also lead to residues in food. Those drugs include fungicides (used to kill or inhibit fungi), anthelmintics (used to treat infections with parasitic worms), corticosteroids (a synthetic steroid hormone that supports several physiologic functions), tranquilizers (used for the prevention of transport illness and stress syndrome in pigs) and coccidiostats (used to treat or prevent the parasitic disease coccidiosis).

Chemical contaminants

Chemical contamination of food is a health concern and may result from various sources. One important source of contamination is migration from packaging material. An example of this is the contaminant bisphenol A (BPA), a substance used in the production of poly-carbonate plastics. Via plastic bottles or plastic packaging, BPA may migrate into foods. EU legislation has therefore defined a specific migration limit (SML) for BPA.

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