Requirement to analyse samples from food producing animals and their products for residues of veterinary medicines and prohibited substances.
A European legislative requirement (Council Directive 96/23/EC) commits member states to analyse samples from food producing animals and their products for residues of veterinary medicines and prohibited substances.
The programme covers
- red meat
- poultry meat
- farmed salmon and trout
- wild and farmed game
Substances to be tested
These are set out for each species in Annexes I and II of Council Directive 96/23/EC.
The plan for testing of samples is discussed with representatives from the sample collection agencies, the laboratories and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The final plan is approved by the Commission.
Samples are collected by
- FSA who collect red meat and poultry samples from carcasses from slaughterhouses
- Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) who collect samples from live animals, animal feed, eggs and milk on farms
- Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) who collect samples from fish farms in England and Wales
- Marine Scotland who collect samples from fish farms in Scotland
- National Bee Unit who collect honey samples in England and Wales
- Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) who collect egg and honey samples from farms in Scotland
- Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) who collect samples in Northern Ireland
Sample analysis is done by
- Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) who analyse the samples in Great Britain
- Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) who analyse the samples in Northern Ireland
When a sample is found to contain an unacceptable residue an investigation is carried out at the farm of origin to establish the cause.
For minor breaches of legislation the farmer and or the vet will be given advice to help avoid this happening again.
However, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) may take further action in serious cases which may lead to prosecution.
The results of the statutory and non-statutory surveillance are published annually.
The charges for Residues Surveillance are set out in UK legislation. The Charges for Residues Surveillance Regulations 2006, last amended 2011.
The fees are charged for each industry sector and cover the cost of running the programme. Charges are based on throughput of each species and production data and the information is submitted from various sources.
It is the responsibility of food business operators who run poultry slaughterhouses to complete a self declaration using the poultry throughput form.
The frequency of invoicing varies per sector.
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