Determination of ractopamine residue in tissues and urine from pig fed meat and bone meal

In many countries, ractopamine hydrochloride (RAC) is allowed to be used in animal production as a β-agonist, which is an energy repartitioning agent able to offer economic benefits such as increased muscle and decreased fat deposition, feed conversion improvement and an increase in average daily weight gain. However, some countries have banned its use and established strict traceability programmes because of pharmacological implications of β-agonist residues in meat products. In Brazil, commercial RAC is controlled (5–20 mg kg−1) and only added to pig diet during the last 28 days before slaughter. However, the control is more difficult when co-products, like meat and bone meal (MBM), which can be produced from RAC treated animals, are part of the feed composition. Therefore, a study was undertaken to evaluate the presence of RAC residue concentrations in urine and tissues of gilts (n = 40) in four dietary groups: 0%, 7%, 14% and 21% (w/w) of MBM-containing RAC (53.5 µg kg−1). The concentration of RAC residues in MBM, pig tissues and urine was determined by LC–MS. Low RAC concentrations were detected in muscle, kidney, liver and lungs (limit of detection = 0.15, 0.5, 0.5 and 1.0 µg kg−1, respectively); however, no RAC residues were quantified above the limit of quantification (0.5, 2.5, 2.5 and 2.5 µg kg−1, respectively). In urine, the RAC concentration remained below 1.35 µg L−1. These data suggest that MBM (containing 53.5 µg kg−1 RAC) added to diet up to 21% (w/w) could hamper the trade where RAC is restricted or has zero-tolerance policy.