Food-producing animals may be treated with veterinary medicines to prevent or cure disease. These substances may leave residues in the food from treated animals. Food may also contain residues of pesticides and contaminants to which animals have been exposed. In all cases, food residue levels should not harm the consumer.
- EU countries must implement residue monitoring plans to detect the illegal use or misuse of authorised veterinary medicines in food-producing animals and investigate the reasons for residue violations
- Non-EU countries exporting to the EU must implement a residue monitoring plan which guarantees an equivalent level of food safety
I. Scientific advice
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is responsible for assessing Maximum Residue Limits for veterinary medicinal products marketed in the EU.
EU countries must monitor food of animal origin for the presence of residues. The legislation governing the design and implementation of control plans is as follows:
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/1644
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/1646
- The compiled document summarises legal requirements for control plans on residues.
- Regulation (EU) 2021/808 - Rules for validating analytical methods used in the residue monitoring plan and official sample treatment (see Laboratory Analysis).
Implementation of National Residue Monitoring Plans
EU annual reports on the results from the monitoring of veterinary medicinal product residues and other substances in live animals and animal products:
III. Laboratory analysis
Specific EU legislation outlines the laboratory analysis and correct interpretation of results.
Regulation (EU) 2021/808 establishes:
- Criteria and procedures to validate analytical methods, ensuring the quality and comparability of the results of official laboratories
- Common criteria for the interpretation of test results
- Sampling procedures and official sample treatment
Guidelines for implementation of Regulation (EU) 2021/808:
- Guidelines for the validation of screening methods for residues of veterinary medicines (under revision, applicable for points 2 and 3 of the Annex 1 to Decision 2002/657/EC).
- EURL Guidance Document on the quality control during routine analysis (ongoing method performance verification)
- EURL guidance on minimum method performance requirements (MMPRs) for specific pharmacologically active substances in specific animal matrices
- EURL Guidance Document on confirmation method validation
- EURL Guidance document on the extension of quantitative confirmation methods
IV. Non-EU imports
EU rules affect trading partners worldwide. Non-EU countries wanting to export to the EU must ensure the same level of food/feed safety as that of the EU. For more detailed information, please refer to the Manual on residue requirements for non-EU countries exporting to the EU. This Manual is available in English, español, français, and português, below.
EU Reference Laboratories
European Reference laboratories coordinate the network of National Reference Laboratories providing support to obtain high quality and reliable results.
Legislation regarding monitoring of residues of veterinary medicinal products, residue limits and veterinary medicinal products. See more