Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods

Testing for residues

Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods
(Host Government - United States)

The Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF) determines priorities for the consideration of residues of veterinary drugs in foods and recommends Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for veterinary drugs.

A Codex Maximum Limit for Residues of Veterinary Drugs (MRL) is the maximum concentration or residue that results from the use of a veterinary drug (expressed in mg/kg or g/kg on a fresh weight basis) recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission to be legally permitted or recognised as acceptable in or on a food.

An MRL is based on the type and amount of residue considered to be without any toxicological hazard from human health as expressed by the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)*, or on the basis of a temporary ADI that utilises an additional safety factor. An MRL also considers public health risks as well as food technology issues.

*Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI): an estimate by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the amount of a veterinary drug, expressed on a body weight basis, that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk (standard man – 60kg).

When establishing a MRL, residues that occur in food of plant origin and/or the environment are also considered. Furthermore, a MRL may be reduced to be consistent with good practices in the use of veterinary drugs to the extent that practical and analytical methods are available.

Existing Codex Standards

Standards relating to residues of veterinary drugs in foods* that have been endorsed and adopted into the international food code include standards on:

  • Control of the Use of Veterinary Drugs
  • Glossary of Terms and Definitions (Veterinary Drugs Residues in Foods)
  • Guidelines for the Establishment of a Regulatory Program for Control of Veterinary Drug Residues in Foods
  • Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs in Food

* This is an indicative list only. For a full list of standards approved by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, please consult its Official List of Standards

Last Meeting

The 21st Session of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods was held in Minneapolis, USA from 26-30 August 2013.

Matters for Adoption/Consideration by the 37th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Committee agreed to forward to the Commission:

Draft Standards and Related Texts for adoption

  • Proposed draft Risk Management Recommendations (RMRs) for chloramphenicol, malachite green, carbadox, furazolidone, nitrofural, chlorpromazine, stilbenes and olaquindox, for adoption at Step 5/8
  • Proposed draft Performance Characteristics for Multi-Residues Methods (MRMs) for Veterinary Drugs (Appendix C of CAC-GL 71-2009), for adoption at Step 5/
  • Draft provisions on Extrapolation of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) of Veterinary Drugs to Additional Species (for inclusion on the Risk Analysis Principles Applied by the CCRVDF), for adoption; and
  • Draft provisions of the use of the Concern Form for the CCRVDF (for inclusion on the Risk Analysis Principles Applied by the CCRVDF), for adoption.

Other matters for approval

  • Proposed draft MRLs for apramycin (cattle and chicken kidney), for discontinuation; and
  • Priority List of veterinary drugs for evaluation or re-evaluation by JECFA, for approval. 

Matters of interest

  • The Committee agreed to hold the draft MRLs for monepantel (sheep tissues) at Step 7 and the proposed draft MRLs for derquantel (sheep tissues) at Step 4; and
  • Agreed to hold at Step 4 the proposed draft RMRs for dimitridazole, ipronidazole, metronidazole and ronidazole for consideration at the 22nd CCRVDF

Matters for Advice by the 37th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Committee agreed to ask confirmation as to the appropriateness to consider ethoxiquin, which was included in the Priority List for evaluation or re-evaluation by JECFA.

Matters for FAO/WHO

  • The Committee forward to the 78th JECFA additional considerations to its questions concerning risk analysis policy on extrapolation of MRLs of veterinary drugs to additional species and concerning the establishment of MRLs for honey; and
  • Request FAO and WHO advice in support to an alternative approach to move compounds from the database on countries’ need for MRLs to the JECFA Priority List (para. 136). 

The report from the last meeting

Next Meeting

The 22nd Session of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods will be held in Costa Rica April 2015 with dates to be confirmed.

The agenda for this meeting

Related Links

National Residue Survey

Last reviewed:
29 Oct 2013