The Department of Agriculture has released the results of testing carried out under the National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) which shows that 99.88% of samples tested negative for illegal residues.

The NRCP covers testing for banned substances, approved veterinary medicines, approved animal feed additives and environmental contaminants.

A total of 16,196 samples were tested in 2020, taken across all food-producing species.

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

Results show that 99.88% 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.

High compliance

This high level of compliance has been consistent going back to 2013 and is an indicator of the responsible approach adopted by the vast majority of farmers.

This monitoring program helps to protect consumers and animals by ensuring a high degree of compliance with EU regulations.

In total, only 20 samples were identified as 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, and none required a recall of products from the market.

Follow up, on farm investigations by the Department took place where positive results were returned and further risk analysis was deemed necessary.

Results from the extensive testing under the NRCP in 2020 and follow-up investigations found no evidence of the illegal use of banned growth promoting hormones or other banned substances in food-producing animals in Ireland.