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Residues of Pharmacological substances and Contaminations from animal foods

The consumer is entitled to foods which do not contain any harmful residues from feedstuffs and the medical treatment of animals.

Veterinary medicinal products

The responsible handling of animals involves sensibly combating animal diseases and treating sick animals, if necessary, with medical substances. If these animals are used for the production of food, there is a possibility that low amounts of the substances used in treatment may reach the food chain of humans (so-called "residues"). Hence, medicinal products may only be used in food-producing animals under controlled conditions. As far as possible it must be excluded that humans who consume foods from treated animals take in residues of veterinary medicinal products which damage their health.

Maximum levels for residues apply when undertaking assessments in conjunction with the control of foods for illegal residues of pharmacological substances. They are regulated throughout the EU by Regulation (EEC) No. 2377/90 of the Council "For the creation of a Community procedure for the laying down of maximum levels for veterinary medicinal products in foods of animal origin".

Contaminants in feedstuffs

Impurities in feedstuffs from undesirable substances are described as contaminants in feedstuffs which come from the environment or the feedstuff production process. Contaminants of this kind may be of natural origin (example mycotoxins) or stem from human activities (for example dioxins and PCB, lead etc.). Maximum levels for the burden of feedstuffs with contaminants are laid down by the Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture and/or the European Commission (DG Health and Consumer Protection, DG 24).


Substances which are admixed to the feedstuff in order to achieve various purposes are described as feedstuff additives.

A first group of feedstuff additives serves to prevent signs of deficiency in food-producing animals or to obtain improved yields (e.g. higher milk yield, higher egg production, faster fattening and, by extension, shorter fattening times). This group of feed additives includes vitamins, mineral substances and trace elements and performance enhancers.

A second group of feedstuff additives serves to improve the properties of the feedstuffs. This group includes preservatives, colouring agents, excipients like flow agents or emulsifiers etc.

A third group consists of coccidiostatic agents (substances which prevent infections with coccidia - protozoan).


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