§ Mr. Morley
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what regulatory monitoring there is in place to check on the antibiotic content of farm animal feed and its possible cumulative effect on the human consumer. 947W
§ Mrs. Browning
[holding answer 4 June 1996]: The use of additives in animal feedingstuffs is subject to directive 70/524/EEC, as amended. No feed additive may be authorised unless it satisfies criteria set out in the directive, including a requirement that, at the level permitted in feedstuffs, it does not adversely affect human or animal health or the environment.
Surveillance for the use of residues of veterinary medicines including antibiotics in food producing animals is carried out under the national surveillance scheme for residues in meat, which implements EC Directive 86/469. About 40,000 samples are collected in GB each year from randomly selected slaughterhouses by the Meat Hygiene Service and tested for the presence of these substances.
The results show that the incidence of residues found in 1995 was very low. Only 99 samples out of some 47,000 tested were above the action level. Because of the considerable margins of safety involved, none of these samples was likely to have posed a health risk to consumers. The results of this surveillance are published in the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's annual report on surveillance for veterinary residues and updated quarterly in its Medicines Act veterinary information newsletter, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House.