Efsa: decrease in “non-compliant samples”

There is increased safety in European livestock farms and animal products. And even more for those coming from Italian farms.

There is increased safety in European livestock farms and animal products. And even more for those coming from Italian farms. The new EFSA report confirms this, the European Food Safety Authority published the results of the latest investigations on the presence of residues in live animals and food

It is the result of enormous work, with over 620 thousand samples collected in all the countries of the European Union, plus Iceland and Norway. The presence of undesirable substances was found in 0.19% of cases only. These are the figures recorded in 2020, down by 37% compared to 2019, when the positive cases were 0.30%. But what matters most is the trend of the last ten years, which confirms the progressive and constant decrease of “non-compliant samples”, that is, the detection of residues beyond the limits allowed.

More specifically, the research on anabolic agents (hormones) has confirmed stilbenes’ absence, which has long been banned in the European Union.

The most frequently detected substances include chemical compounds, such as metals (3.71%). This group contains copper, lead and other metals in the environment. Their origin is not directly related to incorrect behaviour during breeding or animal care.

There is increased #safety in European #LivestockFarms and #AnimalProducts, #EFSA reports: the presence of undesirable #residues was found in 0.19% of cases only. Click To Tweet

Similar considerations concern the presence of thiouracil (antithyroid action). As the Efsa report explains, these eventualities may derive from the use of Brassicaceae in the animals’ ration, a botanical family to which numerous forages belong.

There is still some issue with the slight increase (from 0.19% to 0.23%) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but they are indispensable to soothe pain and promote the welfare of animals affected by inflammatory processes. It is no coincidence that the more significant presence of such drugs is found in horses (1.17%), animals often engaged in recreational and sports activities. Next to nothing, instead, the presence of NSAIDs in poultry (0.04%) and pigs (0.01%).

It is essential to note the rare occurrence of antimicrobial residues for all categories. Only 0.14% of the samples showed presence beyond the limits, but in this case, there is a continuous decrease in positive samples. It results from greater respect for the withdrawal times of treatments, especially in the constant reduction in the use of antibiotics. Some, such as chloramphenicol, are prohibited, and it is comforting to learn that no cases are reported in Italy.

On the consumption of antibiotics, the most recent findings indicate that their use on farms has decreased by 43% between 2011 and 2020, confirming the commitment of animal husbandry and veterinary medicine in the fight against antibiotic resistance. A “mission” that the world of animal production is facing responsibly in the perspective of the One Health philosophy, with much more satisfactory results than in human medicine.

The use of #antibiotics in #farms has decreased by 43% between 2011 and 2020, confirming the commitment of #EULivestcok sector and #VeterinaryMedicine in fighting #AMR. Click To Tweet

Finally, a consideration of the real presence of residues resulting from incorrect treatments. If positive results for “environmental” contaminants are excluded from the total, the presence of residues from pharmacological interventions is significantly reduced. An approximate account indicates that non-compliant samples fall to 0.10%.

Further confirmation of the excellent work done by farms, veterinarians, and the entire supply chain of animal origin products.



Professional journalist, graduated in veterinary medicine, director of journals dedicated to animal husbandry and editor in chief of journals in the agricultural sector, he has held coordination positions in publishing companies. Author of books on animal breeding, he is involved in the divulgation of technical, political and economic subjects of interest to the livestock sector.