EU inspectors have warned the Department of Agriculture to ensure that all medicinal treatments given to food producing animals are correctly recorded in on-farm registers, including clear identification of the animals treated.
Food and Veterinary Office officials made the recommendation after an inspection in Ireland last April to evaluate monitoring of residues and contaminants in livestock and livestock products.
They visited two farms and found deficiencies in the medicines record keeping. On both farms, treatment records were present but were not always complete or correct.
Not all treatments were recorded, some withdrawal periods were wrongly entered, and in some cases, treated animals were not clearly identified.
In most of the follow-up files examined by the FVO audit team, the authorities had documented deficiencies in record keeping on the farms concerned.
The EU inspectors warned that the deficiencies in medicines records could hamper investigation of any residue violations which arise.
Inspectors also visited the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Department of Agriculture regional offices, the Waterford and Kilkenny county councils, the Veterinary Public Health Regulatory Laboratory and the State Laboratory in Co Kildare, and two slaughterhouses.
They said Ireland’s residue monitoring plan is carried out in a timely manner, thus fulfilling EU requirements.
However, effectiveness was weakened by factors such as deficiencies in traceability of sheep samples to farms of origin, multiple sampling from the same producers, inadequate checks on food chain information and long turnaround times for laboratory analysis, and medicines record deficiencies on farms.
The Department of Agriculture has responded by pointing out that arrangements are in place to ensure that any carcase sampled for residues can be linked to the flock of birth, and the National Sheep Identification System now operates on the basis of one identification for life from holding of origin.
Measures will be taken to avoid multiple sampling from a single supplier, and supervisory vets will be asked to comply with other FVO recommendations.
Posters, leaflets and circulars will alert herdowners and farmer organisations to medicine record requirements. Farm inspections will include compliance checks.
Back to News Headlines