EUROPE –  Latest data from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has shown that residues of veterinary medications and other compounds discovered in animals and animal-derived products continue to drop in the EU and that compliance levels are increasing.

Data from EU Member States, Iceland, and Norway are included in the EFSA’s annual report for 2021 on veterinary chemical residues and other chemicals in animals and animal products.

The paper discusses various veterinary medications as well as hormones, antibiotics, environmental toxins, and illegal substances.

The 27 member states of the EU, Iceland, Norway, and the UK (Northern Ireland) reported 621,205 samples in total to the European Commission.

These included 262,203 samples taken as part of programs designed in accordance with national legislation, 2,803 samples collected at import, and 351,637 targeted samples and 4,562 suspect samples reported under Council Directive 96/23/EC.

The majority of nations satisfied the minimal sampling frequency standards outlined in Council Directive 96/23/EC and Commission Decision 97/747/EC.

Compared to 2020, a small rise in the quantity of samples was seen.

The percentage of non-compliant samples in 2021 was 0.17 percent, the lowest level seen in the previous 12 years, when non-compliance was 0.19 to 0.37 percent.

Overall, there were 837 or 0.24% of non-compliant samples out of the 351,637 targeted samples in 2021

2020 saw a 0.19 percent non-compliance rate.

In comparison to the data from 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, the frequency of non-compliant results for antithyroid drugs fell in 2021, while it increased over 2020 but reduced over the years for steroids and resorcylic acid lactones.

The   highest   frequency   of   non-compliant   samples   for antibacterials residues was  found  in  honey  (0.96%),  with sulfamethazin  being  the  most frequently reported(three non-compliance results)

Regarding prohibited substances, the frequency of non-compliance in 2021 was higher than it was in 2020, however it was still comparable to that of 2017 and 2018.

Other compounds, environmental pollutants, chemical components (including metals), and dyes all showed decreases as compared to all prior years.

For “other substances,” a significant rise in comparison to all prior years was discovered.

For ‘other  veterinary  drugs’ residues, 0.13%  of  the  samples  analysed  were  non-compliant. The highest proportion of non-compliant samples was found for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory  drugs  (NSAIDs)  (sub-group B2e) at 0.25%. 

For  NSAIDs,  the  non-compliant samples were reported across the different species as follows; bovines (0.42%), horses (0.75%), milk (0.47%), pigs (0.01%) and poultry (0.18%).

Instances of non-compliance for anthelmintics (B2a) were reported in bovines (0.06%), farmed game (0.40%), milk (0.04%), pigs (0.05%) and sheep and goats (0.23%).

For anticoccidials (B2b), 0.11% of the samples analysed were non-compliant and were reported across  the  different  species  as  follows:  eggs  (0.42%),  pigs  (0.06%),  poultry  (0.07%),  rabbit meat  (0.87%)  and  sheep  and  goats  (0.15%). 

Since  2009,  an  important  decrease  has  been observed in the frequency of non-compliant samples for anticoccidials in poultry.

Chemical elements had the greatest overall percentage of non-compliant samples (2.59%) among all residue sub-groups evaluated in the group “other substances and environmental pollutants,” with cadmium, copper, lead, and total mercury being the most commonly found contaminants.

High non-compliant results had previously been recorded for chemical elements, but the non-compliant rate in 2021 was lower than the results of the preceding control years.

For organophosphorus compounds and organochlorine compounds, respectively, non-compliant samples were observed at 0.13% and 0.02%.

In terms of mycotoxins, non-compliant samples were reported for cattle (0.30%), milk (0.36%), and pigs (0.16%), with zearalenone and aflatoxin M1 being the culprits.

For dyes, samples from aquaculture (0.40%) were reported as non-compliant.

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