Comparison of international legislation and standards on veterinary drug residues in food of animal origin

  • Anaïs LégerEmail author
  • Lis Alban
  • Anouk Veldhuis
  • Gerdien van Schaik
  • Katharina D. C. Stärk
Original Article


Current legislation governing monitoring of drug residues in foodstuff of animal origin is being revised at the European level. This study provides a qualitative comparison of the legislation, public and private standards in the European Union, the United States of America (USA) and the Eurasian Customs Union/Russia. We made a quantitative comparison of Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) applied in each region for pork kidneys for tetracycline (with a focus on doxycycline), penicillin and chloramphenicol. The Customs Union generally applied lower levels than the other regions, with MRLs for tetracyclines in pig kidneys being 1200 times lower than those applied in the USA. Growing consumer interest and concern about chemicals in their food could be leveraged to support and enhance the implementation of new initiatives to improve veterinary public health. Farmers and veterinarians could help reduce findings of drug residues in meat through the judicious use of preventive actions when using veterinary medicine.


Veterinary public health Legislative comparisons SWOT analysis Antibiotic residues 



We thank the following persons for input during the project: Derk Oorburg (VION Food); Isabelle Rüfenacht (Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office of Switzerland, Food and nutrition Division); Kai Caspari (Official Cantonal Veterinary Services from Zug); Klaus Depner (FLI); Lucie Collineau (SAFOSO); and Pia Gjertsen Prestmo (Bristol University). We acknowledge the entire SANTERO Consortium for inspiring discussion during the project (


This work was funded through the Animal Health and Welfare ERA-NET consortium ( under the SANTERO project ( We acknowledge support of the following funders: Danish Agriculture & Food Council, Denmark; the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Netherlands; and the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO), Switzerland.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anaïs Léger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lis Alban
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anouk Veldhuis
    • 4
  • Gerdien van Schaik
    • 4
    • 5
  • Katharina D. C. Stärk
    • 1
  1. 1.SAFOSO AGLiebefeldSwitzerland
  2. 2.Danish Agriculture & Food CouncilCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.GD Animal HealthDeventerNetherlands
  5. 5.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands

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