California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System

Photo: Toxicology


The Toxicology section provides the highest quality diagnostic, analytical, clinical, and developmental service for the toxicologic, nutritional, residue monitoring, risk assessment and food safety needs of the veterinary, animal and human health industries. In keeping with the mission statement of CAHFS, the Toxicology section strives to provide accurate results with minimum turnaround times. The large size and diversity of California’s agricultural industry dictates providing a broad range of analytical and diagnostic toxicology services. To meet this broad mandate, the laboratory has been designed around three core groups of analysts.  The groups consist of elemental analysis, organic residue (e.g., pesticide) analysis, and general toxicology (e.g., feed additives, nitrates, plant toxins). The section is automated with autosamplers and computer acquisition of data where possible. This allows the Toxicology section to efficiently and quickly perform a large volume of analyses without compromising quality.

The Toxicology section serves California by safeguarding public health with rapid, reliable diagnoses of animal toxicoses that can affect humans, and analyses of animal feeds and animal-based foods possibly contaminated with synthetic chemical residues or toxins, prompting regulatory activities in the field to ensure a safe food supply.  To help provide quality service throughout the state, this section maintains close contact with all CAHFS laboratories. A courier service provides a one-day sample transfer. Two veterinary toxicologists and a toxicology resident are available to assist the diagnosticians and veterinary clinicians in investigations of possible toxicoses in livestock. To expedite investigations, samples of ocular fluid, forage, and water can be rapidly screened for nitrate content in the Tulare and San Bernardino laboratories to rule-out high levels of nitrate. Suspect positive results are sent to Davis for confirmation.