CVM warns of antibiotic residues in ethanol co-products

Virginiamycin, tylosin and erythromycin found in samples
April 2, 2009

CVM warns of antibiotic residues in ethanol co-products

Speaking at the American Feed Industry Association’s Spring Forum and Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference, Dr. Dan McChesney, the director of surveillance and compliance at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine discussed in detail contaminants and routes of contamination in distillers co-products such as DDGS and those from biodiesel production such as glycerin or glycerol.

Richard Sellers, AFIA's vice president of feed regulation and nutrition said McChesney specifically noted an antibiotic residue in a distiller co-products several-phase study that has yielded 45 sample results in a study of 60 co-product samples. He noted that FDA found 27 antibiotic residues in 45 samples of several ethanol co-products, and he expressed concern with several of these, as FDA has only accepted one—virginiamycin in one specific form from one company. He also said that some of the residues for virginiamycin were higher than the 0.5 ppm that FDA noted in its 1993 letter to a pharmaceutical firm requesting review of virginiamycin use in ethanol production.

Two other antibiotics, tylosin and erythromycin, were discovered in additional samples, said McChesney. These are not approved for ethanol production, and FDA could consider such residues adulterants. FDA officials told AFIA these results are being reviewed by toxicologists to determine if there is urgent concern.

AFIA is addressing the use of these products with ethanol producers and will participate in a meeting with ethanol-producer trade groups in April.