Veterinary medicines

Veterinary medicines are used to treat sick animals or prevent disease in herds or flocks of animals. More information is available via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

They are regulated to ensure that they do not present health risks to the treated animals, to the people who eat the meat and animal product, to the people administering the veterinary medicines or to the environment.

Government Ministers or the European Union must authorise all veterinary medicines before they can be marketed or used on animals in the UK. Once authorised, veterinary medicine residue in the food chain are monitored through a surveillance programme to make sure that they do not pose a risk to people’s health. The Food Standards Agency makes sure that food safety is given top priority during the authorisation and monitoring processes and that any veterinary medicine residues in food are as low as practically possible within safe limits.

Veterinary medicine residues are the very small amounts of veterinary medicines that can remain in animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, honey and milk after slaughter or collection and so make their way into the food chain.

Residues of veterinary medicines can remain even when veterinary medicines are administered in the right amount; therefore, withdrawal periods are imposed to ensure that residues have fallen to safe levels. The use of withdrawal periods ensures that residues do not exceed legal limits and makes sure the products are safe to eat.

Surveillance programmes to monitor Veterinary medicine residue are in place to ensure no unexpected residues are occurring in products. Here at Southampton we monitor imports of various Products of Animal Origin to ensure that the products contain safe levels of veterinary medicine residues.

Any products which are sampled for this surveillance product do not incur laboratory charges.