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Results of Residue Testing in 2018 Shows Continued High Levels of Compliance


The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today released the results of testing carried out under the National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) in 2018 with the overall rate of compliance remaining at an extremely high level of 99.76%. The NRCP covers testing for banned substances, approved veterinary medicines, pesticides and environmental contaminants.


17,344 samples were tested in 2018, taken across all 8 food producing species [1] as well as milk, eggs and honey. Most samples are taken in accordance with criteria designed to target animals or products that are more likely to contain illegal residues (‘targeted sampling’). 99.76% of samples tested negative for illegal residues and this is a continuation of the trend over a number of years of a general absence of residues in Irish food products. This high level of compliance has been consistent going back to 2013 and the Department welcomes this as an indicator of the responsible approach adopted by the vast majority of producers. The monitoring of these substances helps to protect consumers and animals by ensuring a high degree of compliance with EU regulations.


In total 42 samples were non-compliant and of these the majority related to residues of authorised medicines. Risk evaluations carried out by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland in response to all non-compliant results, found that there was no unacceptable food safety risk to consumers. In these circumstances, none required a recall of products from the market. In the majority of cases where positive results were found, a follow up investigation took place at the farm of origin. Results from the extensive testing under the NRCP in 2018 and subsequent investigations carried out found no evidence of the illegal use of banned growth promoting hormones and other banned substances to food-producing animals in Ireland.


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 NRCP, which is one element of the Department’s overall National Control Plan, focuses on food of animal origin.


The 2018 Residues Report is available at:


[1] The 8 food producing species are bovine, ovine/caprine, porcine, equine, poultry, farmed game, wild game and aquaculture




Date Released: 07 August 2019