Veterinary Drug Residues in the Food Chain as an Emerging Public Health Threat: Sources, Analytical Methods, Health Impacts, and Preventive Measures

Hazim O. Khalifa, Lamek Shikoray, Mohamed Yousif Ibrahim Mohamed, Ihab Habib, Tetsuya Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Veterinary medications are necessary for both contemporary animal husbandry and food production, but their residues can linger in foods obtained from animals and pose a dangerous human risk. In this review, we aim to highlight the sources, occurrence, human exposure pathways, and human health effects of drug residues in food-animal products. Following the usage of veterinary medications, pharmacologically active compounds known as drug residues can be found in food, the environment, or animals. They can cause major health concerns to people, including antibiotic resistance development, the development of cancer, teratogenic effects, hypersensitivity, and disruption of normal intestinal flora. Drug residues in animal products can originate from variety of sources, including water or food contamination, extra-label drug use, and ignoring drug withdrawal periods. This review also examines how humans can be exposed to drug residues through drinking water, food, air, and dust, and discusses various analytical techniques for identifying these residues in food. Furthermore, we suggest some potential solutions to prevent or reduce drug residues in animal products and human exposure pathways, such as implementing withdrawal periods, monitoring programs, education campaigns, and new technologies that are crucial for safeguarding public health. This review underscores the urgency of addressing veterinary drug residues as a significant and emerging public health threat, calling for collaborative efforts from researchers, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to develop sustainable solutions that ensure the safety of the global food supply chain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1629
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • analytical techniques
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • cancer
  • drug residues
  • food-animal products
  • human exposure
  • immunological methods
  • preventive measures
  • public health hazards
  • residues
  • veterinary drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science


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