Residues monitoring
In the UK, farmers and veterinarians have an excellent track record of ensuring our food is free from harmful residues of veterinary medicine and measures are in place to ensure things stay that way.
A surveillance schemes is overseen by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), a Defra agency.
This is known as the Statutory Surveillance Scheme.
This statutory surveillance programme involves collection and analysis from red meat, poultry, eggs, milk, farmed fish, wild and farmed game, and honey.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate Reports during 2021 demonstrate that the use of authorised veterinary medicinal products in accordance with directions in the UK does not result in residues of human health concern and that a very high level of compliance with the safe use of such medicines continues to be achieved.
Follow-up action is taken by the Animal & Plant Health Agency, The Fisheries Research Services (Scotland) and the Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), on every sample which on confirmatory analysis shows the presence of unauthorised substances or concentrations of authorised substances above the MRL (Maximum Residue Limits). A thorough on-farm investigation is undertaken by a Veterinary Officer (VO) or a Fish Health Officer (FHO) of the relevant agency who may be accompanied by an Investigation Officer (IO) of DEFRA’s legal department. This investigation will involve an inspection of farm records and stock and the collection of further samples from suspect animals. If clear evidence of abuse is found, the farmer will be prosecuted.
Summary results of the residues surveillance programmes are published bi-monthly by the VMD. More information can be found at the following web page