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Residues Surveillance

We all want to be sure that our food is safe. But, we also know that to avoid unnecessary pain and distress to farm animals, they sometimes need to be treated with authorised medicines. We have to balance the use of these medicines and the need to avoid residues in foods.

There are internationally set safety limits for residues of the majority of veterinary medicines in food. To monitor that these limits are being observed, the VMD manages two extensive surveillance programmes. One is statutory, which helps fulfill our obligations under EU law. The other is a non-statutory programme, which complements and supplements the statutory programme.

We want the public to have confidence in these surveillance programmes. The Government appointed an independent Veterinary Residues Committee (VRC) from 1 January 2001 to advise the VMD and the Food Standards Agency on the programmes and the significance of their results. The following pages give more information about the statutory and non-statutory programmes. Readers may also find the first paper presented to the VRC (VRC/01/01 on their website) a useful guide to the programmes.

We publish all the results quarterly in Marketing Authorisations Veterinary Information Service (MAVIS). A full set of annual results is published in the Annual Report on Surveillance for Veterinary Residues. All of this information is available on the VMD's website or from Stephanie Hunt at the VMD on 01932 338329.

Last Updated: 21 January 2011

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