The methods needed to detect a wide range of beta agonists focus on immunoaffinity columns coupled to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) or gas liquid chromatography (GLC). An intercomparison of method involving 13 laboratories identified problems of extraction and clean up. An extraction and clean up study involving 4 laboratories was set up and should lead to a candidate modular Community method.
Beta-agonists are widely used in human medicine for the treatment of asthma and certain heart conditions. At higher concentrations, they also have the ability to increase the proportion of lean meat relative to fat in farm animal and to increase total weight with obvious financial benefit for the producers.
Although this practice is forbidden by Community legislation (Dir EEC/86/469) there are many examples of illegal use. The compounds are added to animal feed or drinking water and recently, a major feed company was prosecuted for incorporating the compounds in their products. Claims that beta-agonists are present in animal feed have recently resulted in one Member State banning imports from another. The Community is therefore in urgent need of a method to regulate and resolve such disputes and enforce legislation. The methods need to be capable of detection of a wide range of compounds and will probably focus on immuno-affinity columns coupled to HPLC or GLC.
The first intercomparison of methods involving 13 laboratories identified problems of extraction and clean-up. An extraction and clean-up study involving 4 laboratories was started in 1991 and should lead to a candidate "modular" Community method. The proposed method will be tested in a final intercomparison in 1992.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
K115 3NB Weybridge
NR4 7UQ Norwich
28220 Majadahonda (Madrid)
RG16 0PP Newbury
6700 AE Wageningen
3720 BA Bilthoven