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2011 National Residue Plan Results released by The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today released the results of testing carried out under the National Residue Control Plan (NCRP) for 2011. The NCRP, which is an important component of the Department's food safety controls, is implemented under a service contract with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and focuses on food of animal origin.   

With over 20,000 samples tested in 2011, the results show a continuation of the trend over a number of years of a general absence of residues in Irish food products.  Some 40 (0.2%) samples out of 20,501 tested were positive, which reflects the responsible approach adopted by the vast majority of farmers. This compares with positive levels of 0.26% in 2010 and 0.33% in 2009. 

The small number of positives which were detected related mainly to residues of authorised medicines and, following risk evaluations by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, it was found that none presented a specific food safety risk to consumers and therefore none required recall of food from the market. However, for the first time since 1999, a single isolated case of use of Clenbuterol was detected. This resulted from an on-farm investigation, arising from which 2 beef animals tested positive for the illegal substance and a small quantity of the product itself was seized.  The farm was restricted while the investigation, including additional testing which did not yield any further positive, was completed. A file has been submitted to the DPP.  While the evidence suggested that this was an isolated case, the Department heightened its surveillance, including by means of additional testing at slaughter plants. No further evidence of such illegal treatment has since been detected. Nevertheless, the Department will continue to be vigilant.   

In the context of releasing this report, the Department also reminded all concerned in the care of animals of the need to play their parts in addressing the antimicrobial resistance threat. While antimicrobial resistance is a multi-faceted issue and also involves human medicines, all stakeholders in the industry, particularly farmers and veterinary practitioners, have a responsibility to ensure that the use of antibiotics in animals is kept to an absolute minimum and that prudent-use policies are followed. All antibiotic medicines are subject to veterinary prescription control in Ireland and this imposes a particular responsibility on the veterinary profession to work with farmer clients in encouraging good management practices and vaccination policies so that the need for antibiotic treatments is minimised. The common objective must be to avoid using antibiotics where at all possible so that society can continue to have the benefits of these life-saving products into the future.  The Department welcomed the recent adoption of European Council Conclusions on antimicrobial resistance in relation both to human and veterinary medicine, which follow from the publication of the European Commission's Action Plan and European Parliament Resolution in the latter part of 2011. The Department indicated that it looks forward to working with EU partners in developing these important framework documents in order to build on the measures already in place. 

The 2011 Residues Report is available at:

www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/veterinarymedicinesresidues

Date Released: 08 August 2012