Animal Feed: Residues

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 28th September 2015.

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Photo of The Countess of Mar The Countess of Mar Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the maximum residual levels of glyphosate and the constituent chemicals in Roundup formulations in proteins for animal feed.

Photo of The Countess of Mar The Countess of Mar Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many tests for Roundup residue have been conducted in the last five years; and how many samples were found to exceed the maximum residue levels.

Photo of The Countess of Mar The Countess of Mar Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many tests have been conducted on home-grown corn and rape seeds that have been sprayed with Roundup as a pre-harvest desiccant in the last five years, and how many of those tests have shown that maximum residue levels have been exceeded.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

Maximum residue levels (MRLs) are set so as to reflect the highest amount of pesticide residue expected in food when a pesticide is used in accordance with its authorisation. This means that a residue level above the relevant MRL does not necessarily indicate an unacceptable risk for consumers.

‘Roundup’ is the trade name of one product among many herbicides which contain the active substance glyphosate. The Government has undertaken 2,046 tests for glyphosate in the last five years. During 2011, 17 samples of lentils and three samples of pulses contained residues above the permitted MRL. An assessment of these findings found no concerns for human health from these residues. The MRL for lentils did not reflect glyphosate use permitted outside the EU. After proper technical assessment, that MRL was subsequently raised to accommodate such use. All the earlier lentil samples contained residues below the new MRL. Results are published online by the Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food.

Crops or proteins produced exclusively for animal consumption are not currently subject to EU MRLs. However, crops such as soya that are grown for both human and animal consumption are subject to MRLs set under Regulation (EC) No 396/2005. The current MRLs set for glyphosate are published in Commission Regulation (EU) No 293/2013.

The Government has not conducted any analytical tests for glyphosate on corn (maize) or rape seeds. Commodities tested include bread, flour, oats, wheat, noodles, cereal bars, infant food, beer, soya products, rice, lentils and pulses.

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