HC Deb 04 November 2003 vol 412 cc564-5W
Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulations govern the(a) quantity and (b) type of therapeutic and non-therapeutic drugs given to chickens; and if she will make a statement on their use. [134704]

Mr. Bradshaw

The regulation of medicines given to chickens and all other animals. is governed by European legislation. Directive 2001 82 EC requires all veterinary medicines. including therapeutic antimicrobials, to be assessed against statutory criteria this context includes the health and the treated animal. the operator, the environment and the safety of consumers of any food products from the treated animals. All therapeutic antimicrobials are classified as Prescription Only Medicines (POM) and can be administered only on the basis of a prescription issued by a veterinary surgeon. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), an executive agency of Defra, is responsible for the authorisation of therapeutic veterinary medicinal products in the UK.

The authorisation and use of non-therapeutic products administered to farm animals in their feed is subject to controls set down by the European Union (Council Directive 70/524/EC as amended). Under these rules, such products cannot be authorised for use unless they satisfy statutory criteria designed to ensure that, at the level permitted in feedstuffs, they will not adversely affect human or animal health or the environment. Additionally, they may only be used in accordance with the terms set out in an annex to the Directive, which specifies the species in which they may be used, authorised dosage rates and the withdrawal periods that must be applied before animals can be slaughtered for human consumption. Non-therapeutic products administered to farm animals in their feed are authorised centrally in the EU.

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