What is the Veterinary Residues Committee?

The Veterinary Residues Committee is an independent scientific advisory committee that advises government on the testing of foods from animals to look for residues of veterinary medicines and banned substances. For more details about our role visit the About Us page.

Who are the members?

There are 13 members, drawn from a wide range of disciplines such as farming, food retailing, toxicology, veterinary medicine, consumers and food safety experts. Each member is appointed for their individual expertise, not to represent any particular group. For more details visit the Membership page.

How does the VRC operate?

  • The Committee meets four times a year, including an open meeting to which the public is invited.
  • At each meeting the VRC reviews the surveillance results for the last quarter and provides independent advice to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) on any follow-up investigation work that may be required.
  • We also advise on the scope and results of relevant Food Standards Agency surveys, residues incidents and research. We look at the need for further analytical surveys to address other evidence gaps and we are alert to future food-safety risks, with particular reference to observance of withdrawal periods for veterinary medicines. Click here for our full Terms of Reference.
  • The VRC is committed to working as transparently as possible and all the meeting agendas and minutes are published, as are the majority of papers discussed by the Committee. To view meeting papers please visit the Meetings page.

What Surveillance is there for Veterinary Residues?

Two surveillance schemes are overseen by the VRC:

  • The larger one is the National Surveillance Scheme. This is funded mainly by the livestock industry and tests UK food from animals. All EU countries have a legal requirement to test their produce for residues of veterinary medicines, pesticides and heavy metals.
  • The second scheme, the Non-Statutory Surveillance Scheme, funded by Defra, concentrates on testing imported foods.

For more information about how the schemes work please visit the Surveillance Information page.

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