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Poultry meat: improving food safety by improving chemical residue surveillance

Project Reference: 00-RESR-050

Status: Completed

Commencement Date: April, 2001

Project Duration: 48 months


Poultry are highly susceptible to the parasitic disease coccidiosis and veterinary drugs called coccidiostats are routinely used on a prophylactic basis in intensive poultry production. While they are very effective agents for this purpose, they have no nutritional value and have been shown to be toxic at high doses in laboratory animals. In addition, the toxicological information on these drugs is incomplete. While the likelihood of consumers being exposed to toxic levels is very low, best practice dictates that poultry food products should not contain residues of these drugs. It is therefore important for poultry and egg producers to ensure that this does not happen.

This project identified mechanisms by which the primary producer could control the utilisation of medicated feed in their production facilities to ensure that coccidiostat residues would not occur in their product. Specific analytical testing methods for the detection of these drug residues in poultry were developed during this project.

The outcomes of this project were evaluated at a later stage (Project Reference: 06-2007). In particular, the evaluation project considered the contribution of the "Guidelines for poultry producers on prevention of Nicarbazin residues in broilers" (Leaflet and Poster) to reducing the incidence of broiler liver samples non-compliant for Nicarbazin (> 200 µg/kg) in commercial poultry production on the island of Ireland.

Principal Contractor(s):

Prof Chris Elliott, Queen’s University Belfast


Dr Michael O'Keeffe, Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin



A Review of Coccidiostat Residues in Poultry

Peer Reviews:

O'Keeffe, M., Capurro, E., Danaher, M., Campbell, K. and Elliott, C. T. (2007) “Investigation of the cause for the occurrence of residues of the anticoccidial feed additive Nicarbazin in commercial poultry”. Food Additives & Contaminants, 24:9, 923 – 934.

Katrina Campbell,*Terence Fodey, Jonathan Flint, Christopher Danks, Martin Danaher, Michael O’Keeffe, D. Glenn Kennedy and Christopher Elliott. “Development and Validation of a Lateral Flow Device for the Detection of Nicarbazin Contamination in Poultry Feeds”. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

Danaher, Martin, Campbell, Katrina, O'Keeffe, Michael, Capurro, Emiliana, Kennedy, Glenn and Elliott, Christopher T. (2007). “Survey of the anticoccidial feed additive Nicarbazin (as Dinitrocarbanilide residues) in poultry and eggs”. Food Additives & Contaminants, 25:1, 32 – 40.

Briege McCarney, Imelda M. traynor, Terence L. Fodey, Steven R.H. Crooks, Christopher T. Elliott. (2003). “Surface plasmon resonance biosensor screening of poultry liver and eggs for Nicarbazin residue”.Analytica Chemica Acta 483 (2003) 165-169.

Emiliana Capurro, Martin Danaher*, Aniello Anastasio, Maria Luisa Cortesi, Michael O’Keeffe. (2005). “Efficient HPLC method for the determination of Nicarbazin, as dinitrocarbanilide in broiler liver”Journal of Chromatography B, 822 (2005) 154-159.

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