Working Residue Levels (WRLs) For Antimicrobial Residues In Honey

Health Canada's Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD) acknowledges the issues that honey producers face with the limited number of approved drugs available for minor species such as honey bees. Additionally, the emerging resistance to the only approved antimicrobial drug that fights American foul brood disease is exacerbating the situation.

In this context, VDD has reached an agreement with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to amend the joint Policy on Administrative/Maximum Residue Limits (AMRLs/MRLs) for Veterinary Drugs in Food Products to include Working Residue Levels (WRLs) for antimicrobials used in honey.

The WRLs for honey have been derived by extrapolating lowest established AMRL/MRL values of antimicrobials that are approved for use in other food-producing animals. The difference between MRLs and WRLs is that since no new scientific data has been submitted by drug manufacturers on these approved veterinary drugs for use in another species, they cannot be promulgated until adequate animal safety and efficacy data have been gathered. The WRLs are set conservatively and are not intended to represent AMRL/MRL values in honey. The WRLs will be reviewed periodically to reflect new scientific information and are subject to modification or cancellation. A table that outlines safe WRLs for the antimicrobial drug residues in honey is provided.

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