A National Food Safety Project administered through the U.S.
Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.
FARAD is Authorized by the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Reform Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-185, Title 6, Subtitle A, Section 604)
FARAD and Food Quality
Consumers rightly expect that the products they purchase are of high quality. This is especially true for foods.
Just as there are standards for quality in the manufacture of automobiles, there are standards of quality for
animal-derived foods (meat, milk and eggs). The two most visible food safety issues related to animal-derived
foods are microbial and chemical contaminants. Safety is as important for foods as it is for automobiles, and
thus strict safety standards are set for foods. Unlike automobiles which are manufactured in a limited number of
factories, food animal production is widely distributed in thousands of locations, and is more difficult to
monitor. Thus, voluntary producer quality assurance programs are very important.Because food safety is a visible and controversial consumer issue, and safety concerns affect the marketing of
animal-derived foods, responsible producers are expanding and publicizing their quality assurance programs. In
addition, since 1982, the USDA Extension Service has been involved in an educational/service project to further
enhance the safety of animal-derived foods. The Residue Avoidance Program (RAP), which was initially founded by
the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), targeted the area of chemical residues. The aim of the RAP
was to reduce the rate of animal residue violations through education, rather than enforcement.
As part of the RAP, the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD) program was developed by pharmacologists
and toxicologists at the university of California, Davis, University of Florida, North Carolina State University
and the University of Illinois.
What is FARAD
Livestock producers, veterinarians and feed producers recognize residue avoidance as the key to consumer
confidence, and are enhancing and formalizing programs which will permeate every facet of the production system.
The development of effective residue avoidance and quality assurance programs requires access to a vast array of
information. The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD) offers the means to provide this information.
FARAD is a computer-based decision support system designed to provide livestock producers, Extension
specialists, and veterinarians with practical information on how to avoid drug, pesticide and environmental
contaminant residue problems. The drugs and pesticides used in modern animal agriculture improve animal health
and thereby promote more efficient and humane production.
Wherever drugs are used to treat sick animals or prevent disease, there is a potential that residues may be
incurred. The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), which must approve all drugs meant to be marketed for use
in animals, establishes tolerances for drug residues (similar to speed limits) to insure food safety. The USFDA
also establishes “withdrawal times” or “withholding periods” which are times after drug treatment when milk and
eggs are not to be used for food, and during which animals are not to be slaughtered. This allows time to the
animals to eliminate the drug residues.
FARAD is a repository of comprehensive residue avoidance information. FARAD is also sanctioned to provide these
estimates to the United States Pharmacopeia-Drug Information (USP-DI) Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee.
Since 1982 FARAD has been working with producers, Extension Specialists and Agents, and veterinarians to help
avoid and mitigate residue problems. As a cooperative multi-state program, FARAD is available nationwide to
offer advice about residue avoidance.
What is in FARAD
FARAD personnel at the University of California, Davis and the University of Florida comb through numerous
sources of residue avoidance information and extract information that will be of greatest use. These data are
reviewed by residue experts to insure accuracy and consistency, and further analysis is done by FARAD personnel
at North Carolina State University to explore novel ways in which the data may be used to prevent residue
problems. FARAD maintains an up-to-date computerized compilation of:
Current label information including withdrawal times on all drugs approved for use in food animals in the United
States and on hundreds of products used in Canada, Europe and Australia.
Official tolerances for drugs and pesticides in tissues, eggs and milk.
Descriptions and sensitivities of rapid screening tests for detecting tissues in tissues, eggs and milk.
Data on the fate of chemicals in food animals.
VetGRAM is a searchable, decision-support database that allows the user great flexibility in accessing label
food animal drug information. To ensure that you always have access to the latest information, VetGram is
available on the internet only (we no longer send out CD-ROM versions).
When accessing VetGram online, please remember that you need to register with us first. This can be done through
the 'Member Service' link on the left-hand side of the homepage.