Veterinary medicines

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 the regulatory Agency for veterinary medicines in the UK. 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

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). 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.

Surveillance of residues

The VMD operates surveillance programmes to check that veterinary medicines are used correctly.

The Agency believes that consumers have a right to expect that any residues in foods should not present a food safety risk, that they are within safe limits according to EU legislation, and that they are as low as is practically possible.

Where the surveillance indicates a potential concern about intakes of veterinary medicines residues by consumers, the VMD informs the Agency, which then carries out a risk assessment and takes any necessary follow-up action.

You can find out more about surveillance in the UK from the VMD.

The VMD also provides the secretariat for the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) advises on the control of veterinary medicines; and the Veterinary Residues Committee (VRC) oversees a programme to monitor the UK food supply (home produced and imported food) for veterinary medicine residues.

The FSA attends the committee meetings as an assessor.