Assessing dietary exposure to residues of veterinary medicines, feed additives and pesticides in food of animal origin in the EU

News 30/06/2022

EMA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a report on the development of a harmonised approach to the assessment of the dietary exposure of people to residues of veterinary medicines, feed additives and pesticides in food of animal origin. The report is open to public consultation until 31 August 2022.

Veterinary medicines may leave residues in the food deriving from treated animals, and food may also contain residues of feed additives and pesticides to which animals have been exposed to. The presence of residues in food of animal origin is regulated in the European Union to ensure the safety of consumers.

Dietary exposure assessment refers to the process of estimating the exposure to a substance in the relevant human population. Currently, dietary exposure assessments are performed using different legislative/regulatory frameworks, depending on whether the residues stem from veterinary medicines, feed additives or pesticides. While the methodologies are based on common principles, they differ in their scientific approaches, data and practice and can result in different outcomes.

To avoid these inconsistencies, in 2020 the European Commission mandated EMA and EFSA to develop a harmonised approach for consumer exposure.

The report presented today is the outcome of the work carried out by an expert group with experts from EMA’s Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products (CVMP), EFSA, specialists with expertise of Joint FAO / WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and of Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) and an observer from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

The group has analysed differences in their respective approaches to the assessment of the exposure of people to residues of veterinary medicines, feed additives and pesticides in food of animal origin. Based on this analysis, EMA and EFSA are proposing a set of recommendations to harmonise and align data gathering and assessment processes to improve consistency of outcomes.

The report is open for public consultation until 31 August 2022. After the public consultation the report will be finalised and forwarded to the European Commission.

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