Authorization and toxicity of veterinary drugs and plant protection products: Residues of the active ingredients in food and feed and toxicity problems related to adjuvants

Szandra Klátyik, Péter Bohus, Béla Darvas, A. Székács

Research output: Review article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Chemical substances applied in animal husbandry or veterinary medicine and in crop protection represent substantial environmental loads, and their residues occur in food and feed products. Product approval is governed differently in these two sectors in the European Union (EU), and the occurrence of veterinary drug (VD) and pesticide residues indicated by contamination notification cases in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed of the EU also show characteristic differences. While the initial high numbers of VD residues reported in 2002 were successfully suppressed to less than 100 cases annually by 2006 and on, the number of notification cases for pesticide residues showed a gradual increase from a low (approximately 50 cases annually) initial level until 2005 to more than 250 cases annually after 2009, with a halt occurring only in 2016. Main notifiers of VD residues include Germany, Belgium, the UK, and Italy (63, 59, 42, and 31 notifications announced, respectively), and main consigning countries of non-compliances are Vietnam, India, China, and Brazil (88, 50, 34, and 23 notifications, respectively). Thus, countries of South and Southeast Asia are considered a vulnerable point with regard to VD residues entering the EU market. Unintended side effects of VDs and plant protection products may be caused not only by the active ingredients but also by various additives in these preparations. Adjuvants (e.g., surfactants) and other co-formulants used in therapeutic agents and feed additives, as well as in pesticide formulations have long been considered as inactive ingredients in the aspects of the required main biological effect of the pharmaceutical or pesticide, and in turn, legal regulations of the approval and marketing of these additives specified significantly less stringent risk assessment requirements, than those specified for the active ingredients. However, numerous studies have shown additive, synergistic, or antagonistic side effects between the active ingredients and their additives in formulated products; moreover, toxicity has been evidenced for various additives. Therefore, toxicological evaluation of surfactants and other additives is essential for proper environmental risk assessment of formulations used in agriculture including animal husbandry and plant protection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Issue numberSEP
Publication statusPublished - szept. 4 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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