The latest data showing levels of residues from veterinary drugs and other substances in animals and animal-derived food in 2022 in Europe has been published.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report looks at hormones, antibacterials, environmental contaminants, prohibited substances, and other veterinary drugs. It includes data reported by EU member states, Iceland, and Norway.

The presence of unauthorized substances, residues of veterinary medicinal products or chemical contaminants in food may pose a risk to public health.

In 2022, the percentage of non-compliant samples was 0.18 percent, comparable to 0.17 percent in 2021.

The level of non-compliance in targeted samples, which are taken to detect illegal use or check non-compliance with maximum permitted levels, was 0.27 percent, slightly higher than 0.24 percent in 2021.

Example violations
A total of 600,320 samples were reported to the European Commission. They were mainly targeted samples, but almost 4,000 were suspect samples. Others were collected at import, and over 250,000 were collected as part of programs developed under national legislation.

The 919 non-compliant targeted samples were found in bovines, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats, and horses. For beta-agonists, there were six non-compliant samples, three for clenbuterol and salbutamol and two for ractopamine, all in bovines. The clenbuterol and ractopamine results were in Portugal. Four suspect samples were also positive for clenbuterol in Portugal.

Targeted sampling revealed phenylbutazone once each in bovines in Northern Ireland and Spain and horses in Germany.

Prohibited substances identified included chloramphenicol, semicarbazide, metronidazole, furaltadone, and nitrofurazon.

The highest frequency of non-compliant samples for antibacterials was found in honey. Of the 3,056 honey samples analyzed, 42 were non-compliant, with 97 non-compliant results. Ten countries reported them. Glyphosate was found in two samples – one in Austria and the other in Lithuania.

In other substances and environmental contaminants, chemical elements had the highest overall percentage of non-conforming samples, with cadmium, copper, lead, total mercury, and zinc most frequently identified.

Results for food
For mycotoxins, 30 non-compliant samples were reported for bovines, horses, milk, pigs, and poultry, with those identified being zearalenone, aflatoxin M1, ochratoxin A, aflatoxin (sum of B1, B2, G1, G2), and aflatoxin B1.

For dyes, 20 problem samples were reported for aquaculture by six countries. Substances found were the sum of malachite green and leucomalachite green, the sum of brilliant green and leucobrilliant green, and the sum of crystal violet and leucocrystal violet.

Of the 20,974 milk samples analyzed, 47 were non-compliant, leading to 203 non-compliant results. 14 countries reported them. Of the 12,035 egg samples analyzed, 35 were non-compliant, giving 52 non-compliant results. 14 countries reported them.

Of the 1,928 samples analyzed for wild game, 123 were non-compliant, with 150 non-compliant results. 11 countries reported these. For the farmed game, 21 of the 1,426 samples tested were non-compliant. Four countries reported them.

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