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EU mandates new methods to detect antibiotic residues in animal feed

03 July 20242 min reading

Official National control laboratories across the EU have until 20 May 2025 to implement new JRC methods to detect trace levels of antibiotics in compound feed, boosting efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) has developed advanced analytical methods to detect trace amounts of 24 antibiotics in compound feed, helping to curb antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These methods form part of the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2024/1229, which establishes specific maximum levels of antibiotic cross-contamination in animal feed. Effective from 20 May 2025, the regulation empowers National control laboratories to implement these methods, enhancing the EU’s fight against AMR.

Compound feed, which contains a mix of nutritional raw materials for farmed animals, can sometimes include antibiotics to restore animal health. However, misuse or excessive use of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant pathogens, posing a significant threat to public health. AMR is responsible for over 35,000 deaths annually in the EU/EEA and is one of the top three priority health threats in the region.

The JRC’s methods enable the detection of antibiotics at "as low as achievable" levels, playing a crucial role in safeguarding animal welfare and public health. This regulation complements Regulation (EU) 2019/4 on medicated feed and supports the broader EU strategy against AMR, including the 2017 AMR Action Plan and the 2023 Council Recommendation on the One Health approach to combat AMR.

As the EU strengthens its response to AMR, these methods represent a significant advancement in the global effort to preserve the well-being of animals and humans alike.

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