Antibacterial drugs intended to be used as growth promoters are added to the feed of entire herds and flocks at subtherapeutic levels over an extended period of time. These performance enhancing antibacterial growth promoters (AGPs) are regulated by Council Directive 70/524/EEC <1>.
Residues of antibacterial growth promoters (AGPs) in food could lead to allergic reactions but the greatest threat is the development of resistant strains of bacteria which could lead to an improper response to normal drug treatment in humans. For these reasons the European Commission decided to ban some of the regulated growth promoters. With Council Regulation 2821/98 <2> zinc bacitracin, spiramycin, tylosin and virginiamycin, and with Commission Regulation 2788/98 <3> olaquindox, were banned from animal feed.
The multi-AGP screening method developed in the Feedstuffs-RADIUS project is a competitive enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for simultaneously screening of five banned antibacterial growth promoters, i.e. virginiamycin, spiramycin, zinc bacitracin, tylosin and olaquindox in animal feeds. Both the development and validation of the EIA was performed in accordance with Commission Decision 2002/657/EC <4>.