99.7% compliance for chemical residue control

The National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) – which covers testing for banned substances, approved veterinary medicines, pesticides and environmental contaminants – showed an overall rate of compliance of 99.7% for 2017.

The results of testing carried out under the NRCP were released by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine yesterday (Sunday, July 15).

Most samples are taken in accordance with criteria designed to target animals or products that are more likely to contain illegal residues – in other words targeted sampling.

A total of 18,513 samples were tested in 2017, taken across all eight food-producing species – bovine, ovine, porcine, equine, poultry, farmed game, wild game and aquaculture – along with milk, eggs and honey.

99.7% of samples tested negative for any residues and this is a continuation of the trend over a number of years of a general absence of residues in Irish food products, since 2013, according to the department.

The department has welcomed the results as a “positive indicator of the continued responsible approach adopted by producers in general”.

Just 51 samples were non-compliant and of these the majority related to residues of authorised medicines.

Risk evaluations by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland were carried out in response to each result and it was found that there was no unacceptable food safety risk to consumers.

In these circumstances, none required a recall of products from the market. In all cases where positive results were found, a follow-up investigation takes place at the farm of origin.

Results from the extensive testing under the NRCP in 2017 indicated the absence of illegal administration of banned growth promoting hormones and other banned substances to food-producing animals in Ireland.