Identification and dietary exposure assessment of tetracycline and penicillin residues in fluid milk, yogurt, and labneh: A cross-sectional study in Lebanon

Suzanne Kabrite, Christelle Bou-Mitri, Jessy El Hayek Fares, Hussein F Hassan, Jocelyne Matar Boumosleh
Veterinary World 2019, 12 (4): 527-534

Background and Aim: The safety and quality of dairy products are considered to be of significant importance to human health. Although antimicrobial drugs are essential for disease treatment in modern medicine, the use of these drugs can have undesired consequences for human and animal health. This study aimed to investigate the presence of tetracycline and penicillin residues in raw, pasteurized, and UHT cow's milk of different fat contents, as well as in the dairy products yogurt and labneh, a traditional Lebanese product.

Materials and Methods: A total of 44 samples, 4 raw, 9 UHT, 9 pasteurized milk, 10 yogurt, and 12 labneh samples from common local brands available in the Lebanese market were collected from Keserwan regions in May 2016. Tetracycline and penicillin residues were determined using a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique.

Results: The mean values for tetracycline and penicillin were all below the limit of detection (LOD) of the ELISA kit of a maximum standard concentration of 1.80 µg/kg and 4.00 µg/kg, respectively. All samples tested positive for antibiotic residues. The detection rate for tetracycline in milk (n=22) samples was 86.4% with a mean residues value of 1.16±0.70 μg/kg. The detection rate of tetracycline in labneh (n=12) and yogurt (n=10) samples was 50% for each with a mean value of 1.76±0.40 μg/kg and 0.63±0.12 μg/kg, respectively. As for penicillin residues, 90.9% of the milk (n=22) samples tested positive with a mean value of 0.52±0.25 μg/kg. The detection rate in labneh (n=12) and yogurt (n=10) samples was 0% for penicillin residues, where mean values were all below the LOD (<1.25 μg/kg) for these dairy products. None of the samples exceeded the maximum residue levels. The estimated dietary intake (EDI) for tetracycline and penicillin residues for all dairy products is 2.09 ng/kg body weight (BW)/day resulting in 0.007% of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) and 1.83 ng/kg BW/day resulting in 0.006% of the ADI, respectively.

Conclusion: All EDI values were below the ADI set for each antibiotic residue and do not exceed relevant toxicological reference values. However, concerns might still be present from consumption of other animal food products containing residues. Moreover, the long-term exposure to such residues is still unknown as a result of bioaccumulation; it is a challenging process to determine the actual dietary consumption of foods containing antibiotic residues; hence, the human health risk cannot be easily predicted.

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