The Food Standards Agency ensures that food safety is given high priority during the authorisation and monitoring of veterinary medicines.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is responsible for UK policy on veterinary medicines. The FSA monitors the activity of the VMD in relation to food and makes sure that the expert committees that give advice about veterinary medicines take full account of the public's concerns about the safety of food.
The Agency supports the use of veterinary medicines in the production of food as long as:
- regulatory bodies follow a precautionary approach when approving the use of veterinary medicines
- independent scientific advice says that the residues of veterinary medicines are within acceptable limits
- acceptable, safe levels can be set for residues in food
- enough good-quality information is available to the regulatory bodies on which to base these decisions
We believe that consumers have a right to expect that any residues that occur in foods should:
- not be harmful to consumers by presenting a food safety risk
- be within safe limits according to EU legislation and as low as practically possible
If a veterinary medicine residue that is non-compliant with the law is detected in food, the Agency is informed. The Agency is responsible for assessing any risk and taking appropriate action to protect consumers.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It regulates all agricultural and domestic veterinary medicines in Britain. Parallel regulatory arrangements are in place in Northern Ireland.
The VMD evaluates and processes applications for the approval of veterinary medicine products for use in Britain. It also regulates veterinary medicines in accordance with national and European law and guidelines. The VMD has published a guide to marketing controls on veterinary medicines.
The VMD also operates surveillance programmes to check that veterinary medicines are used correctly.
The VMD provides the secretariat for the independent Veterinary Products Committee (VPC), which advises on the control of veterinary medicines; and the Veterinary Residues Committee (VRC), which oversees a programme to monitor the UK food supply (home produced and imported food) for veterinary medicine residues. The FSA nominates a member to represent consumer interests on both of these independent expert committees and attends the committee meetings as an assessor. The VPC and VRC provide advice to the VMD, the FSA and ministers.