Monitoring of Residues

Council Directive 96/23/EC (OJ L125, p10, 23/05/1996) of 29 April 1996 on measures to monitor certain substances and residues thereof in live animals and animal products and repealing Directives 85/358/EEC and 86/469/EEC and Decisions 89/187/EEC and 91/664/EEC

Amended by

Commission Decision 97/747/EC (OJ L303, p12, 06/11/1997) of 27 October 1997 fixing the levels and frequencies of sampling provided for by Council Directive 96/23/EC for the monitoring of certain substances and residues thereof in certain animal products

Commission Decision 2002/657/EC (OJ L221, p8, 17/08/2002 ) of 12 August 2002 implementing Council Directive 96/23/EC concerning the performance of analytical methods and the interpretation of results

Corrected by

  • Corrigendum (OJ L239, p66, 06/09/2002) to Commission Decision 2002/657/EC of 12 August 2002

Amended by

A principal objective of Council Directive 96/23/EC is to detect illegal use of substances in animal production as well as detecting the misuse of authorised veterinary medicinal products. The Directive lays down measures requiring European Member States to monitor the substances and groups of residues listed in Annex I to the Directive. The substance groups are classified in two main categories - Group A and Group B.

Group A lists substances having anabolic effect and unauthorised substances (i.e. most of the substances which are prohibited from use in food producing animals in the EU) and the Group is subdivided into 6 subgroups (A1-A6)

Group B contains a list of Veterinary drugs and contaminants i.e. residues of many pharmacologically active substances which may be authorised for use in food producing animals in the EU (i.e. are listed in Annex I to III to Council Regulation (EEC) No 2377/90). It also comprises organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides and also chemical elements such as lead, cadmium and mercury.

Annex II to Council Directive 96/23/EC lists for each commodity (e.g. bovine animals, aquaculture animals, honey, milk, eggs etc) which Group A and Group B subgroups must be monitored for in the respective commodities.

Council Directive 96/23/EC requires Member States to draft a national residue monitoring plan for the groups of substances detailed in Annex I. These plans must comply with the sampling rules in Annex IV of the Directive. This Directive also establishes the frequencies and level of sampling and the groups of substances to be controlled for each food commodity. Commission Decision 97/747/EC provides further rules for certain animal products: milk, eggs, honey, rabbits and game meat. Member States should forward to the Commission the results of their residue monitoring no later than the 31 March each year. Where checks demonstrate the presence of unauthorised substances or products or when maximum limits have been exceeded, the provisions of Articles 19 to 22 of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 will apply. The permitted residue levels for veterinary medicinal products in foodstuffs of animal origin are set out in Council Regulation 2377/90/EEC as amended.

Each year, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) administers a National Residues Monitoring Plan. The Plan is designed to safeguard consumers from illegal residues and therefore the samples are generally taken in accordance with criteria designed to target animals or products which are more likely to contain illegal residues.

In order for of third countries to be included on the list from which Member States are authorised to import animals and animal products, they are required to submit a plan to the European Commission setting out the guarantees which it (the Third country) offers as regards the residue status of exported product with respect to all of the specified substance groups listed in Annex I to Council Directive 96/23/EC 

Last reviewed: 15/11/2011

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