Food Law News - EU - 2012

Commission Midday Express, 20 March 2012

CONTAMINANTS - Food Chain: EU Expert Report concludes hormone and antibiotic residues in animals have stabilised

Based on 736.806 analytical results collected by Member States, the Commission has today published a report which reassuringly concludes that for the reporting period 2010, only 0.33% of the total number of targeted samples on residues was detected in animals as being non-compliant with EU standards.

The results were even lower for the illegal use of growth hormones (0.15 %) and the use of antimicrobial substances (which can only be administered to animals for treatment, 0.23 %).

Contaminants (persistent substances such as dioxins or chemical elements such as lead and copper), account for the highest percentage of non-compliance (1.5%).

The finding of only 0.33 % in 2010 is within the range of the previous three years (0.32 % to 0.34 %), which indicates a stabilisation in the results. Samples of food of animal origin (meat, farmed fish, milk, honey and eggs), live animals, as well as the animal feed and drinking water, are tested for presence of residues. Upon detection of non compliances, a system of follow-up actions including spot checks on farms of origin or departure, is carried out. During these spot checks, evidence of misuse or abuse is sought (e.g. presence of illegal veterinary medicinal products).

Imports from countries outside of the EU were also covered by the report and used as part of the annual evaluation and authorisation of meat imports into the EU. Apart from respecting conditions related to animal health, third countries who want to export these food commodities to the EU, need to submit monitoring plans and the results to the Commission for approval. Information generated from samples at import showed that of the 5.377 samples taken, 0.76 % were non-compliant.

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