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Results of National Residue Plan Show Continuing Trend of Low Numbers of Positives

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today released the results of testing carried out under the National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) in 2013 with the rate of positives remaining low at 0.2% of all samples tested.

Nearly 20,000 samples were tested in 2013, taken across all 8 food producing species as well as milk, eggs and honey. Some 46 (0.2%) out of 19,869 tested positive which shows a continuation of the trend over a number of years of a general absence of residues in Irish food products. Positive levels in 2012 and 2011 were also 0.2%, with levels of 0.26% in 2010 and 0.33% in 2009. These consistently low levels reflect the responsible approach adopted by the vast majority of farmers.

The extensive testing under the NRCP demonstrates an absence of illegal administration of banned growth promoting hormones and other banned substances, with the small number of positives detected relating mainly to residues of authorised medicines.

In the case of the small number of antibiotic positives in the bovine (8) and ovine (2) sectors, the Department’s controls at the plants concerned, prevented entry into the food chain.

In the equine sector, Ireland’s residue testing programme was also pivotal in providing reassurance to consumers on food safety, following the discovery in January 2013 by the FSAI meat authenticity survey of the presence of horse DNA in frozen beef burgers. In light of the controversy, the Department increased its rate of monitoring under the NRP. Testing was further significantly increased in the context of an EU-wide control programme and also through a National enhanced Bute testing programme for horses destined for the food chain. Under these programmes, an additional 1614 horses were tested for Bute in 2013. 1 sample was found to be positive and this animal was excluded from the food chain.

The 2013 Residues Report is available at www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/veterinarymedicinesresidues

Note for editors

The NRCP, which is approved by the European Commission, forms an important component of Ireland’s food safety controls and is implemented under a service contract with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). The Plan, which is one element of the Department’s overall National Control Plan, focuses on food of animal origin.

 

View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 109/2014 (pdf 94Kb) 

 

Date Released: 24 July 2014