EFSA publishes technical report on veterinary drug residues in animals and food

Following a request for assistance from the European Commission, EFSA has published a technical report on the occurrence of residues of veterinary drugs in live animals and animal products.

The report's results are included in the 2008 European Commission annual report on the implementation of national residue monitoring plans in the EU Member States.

EFSA's technical report, which also covers other substances such as contaminants, compares reported levels with limits set out in EU legislation in order to protect consumers.

It is based on data provided by the 27 EU Member States for 2008. A total of over 750,000 targeted samples were reported, of which less than 2,000 (0.27%) results were found to be over the legal limits. The frequency of non-compliant results (i.e. those which exceeded maximum limits) was similar to that found in previous years for most regulated veterinary medicines.

Anti-bacterials accounted for the highest proportion of the non-compliant results (46%), followed by hormones[1] (19%) and substances categorised as “other veterinary medicinal products” (18%)[2] .

The highest proportion of the non-compliant results were found in pigs (39%), followed by cows (31%) and poultry (17%). However, these animal groups also accounted for the highest number of samples taken.

[1] Including hormones and hormone-like substances.
[2] Including sedatives and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example.