Bryan Salvage at Meat & Poultry, the business journal for meat and poultry processors, today reports on the demise of the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank.

It was used by veterinarians, livestock producers and state and federal regulatory and extension specialists to ensure that drug, environmental and pesticide contaminants do not end up in meat, milk, and eggs. (Do you mean like MELAMINE?)

The Avoidance Databank began shutting down on Oct. 1st after it failed to get an infusion of cash and long-term funding from Congress. It needed about $2.5 million per year.

The American Veterinary Medical Association worked with Congress, through lobbying and grassroots efforts, to have language authorizing the Avoidance Databank at $2.5 million inserted in this year’s Farm Bill. The USDA, however, never incorporated the funding in its budget, and Congress has provided neither emergency funding nor appropriations, Meat & Poultry reported.

"It’s disheartening — even tragic — that a program that costs so little yet does so much to keep our food supply safe is not being funded," said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, the Vet’s government relations director. "We’re talking about a cost of less than a penny per American to help keep meat, eggs and dairy products free of drugs and pesticides."

Even a supportive website could not offset the indifference or opposition by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service.