Chemistry (Residues and Contaminants)

Chemistry (Residues and Contaminants)

This section is responsible for the monitoring of veterinary drug residues and contaminants in food of animal origin.  The National Residue Control Programme provides for the detection of residues in local produce.  The Control Programme covers different species such as bovine, swine, poultry, ovine, caprine and rabbit samples as well as farmed fish.  Animal products such as eggs, milk and honey are also tested.

Different substances categorised in two different groups are tested under the National Residue Control Programme.  Group A substances comprise anabolic substances and substances prohibited for use in food producing animals such as stilbenes, anti-thyroid agents, steroids, beta agonists, etc.  Group B substances include veterinary drugs authorised for use in food-producing animals but for which a withdrawal period is required prior to slaughter, during which the animals should not be administered the drugs and contaminants.

In parallel to the National Residue Control Plan, a number of surveys are also carried out yearly to ensure that there is no prevalence of particular veterinary residues within a given animal population and to check the status of food not covered by the national plan. 

An Import Control Plan is also carried out annually to detect residues in food of animal origin imported from third countries.  This plan is based on the nature of the products, the country of origin and the risk these products represent.  

An image showing a laboratory officer performing chemical extraction for veterinary residue analysis.  The laboratory officer is wearing a white lab coat and white plastic gloves whilst holding an open centrifuge tube with one hand and a micropipette with the other hand.  A blue bench shows behind the lab officer and a white bench top is in front of the officer.  Five test tubes held in a white rack and four red capped centrifuge tubes held in another rack on the bench top.  Small tubes held in an orange rack and a beaker almost full with transparent extraction buffer also present on the bench top.Chemical extraction for veterinary residue analysis