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Results of Residue Testing in 2019 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 2019 with the overall rate of compliance remaining at an extremely high level of 99.69%.  The NRCP covers testing for banned substances, approved veterinary medicines, approved animal feed additives and environmental contaminants.


16,911 samples were tested in 2019, 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’).  99.69% 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 farmers. The monitoring of these substances helps to protect consumers and animals by ensuring a high degree of compliance with EU regulations.


In total 53 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. Follow up on farm investigations by the Department took place for those positives where further risk analysis was deemed necessary.


Results from the extensive testing under the NRCP in 2019 and subsequent investigations carried out found no evidence of the illegal use of banned growth promoting hormones or 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 2019 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: 30 October 2020