Survey on royal jelly supplements

In a survey published today on behalf of the Veterinary Residues Committee (VRC), the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) reports that traces of chloramphenicol, a veterinary medicine banned
for use in food producing animals, were found in 18 samples of high concentration royal jelly nutritional supplements.

However, the risks from the levels found in the affected samples would have been extremely small.

The survey, carried out by the VMD between September and November 2007 and focusing on products containing high concentrations of royal jelly, tested 71 samples of royal jelly nutritional
supplements sold as capsules, tablets and fresh royal jelly. Residues of chloramphenicol were found in 18 samples in concentrations ranged between
0.33µg/kg and 21µg/kg. Royal jelly is made by bees for the
nourishment of the queen bee.

Where positive samples were found during the course of the survey the Agency was notified and worked with local authorities and the companies involved to ensure that the products were withdrawn
from sale. These companies have informed customers who bought the implicated products of the reasons for the withdrawal and asked them not to consume the product and return it to the company.
Where affected products came from outside UK, the Agency notified the European Commission.

The FSA contributes to the UK programme of surveillance overseen by the VRC. The results of the VMD’s surveillance are passed to us, and we assess any risks and liaise with local authorities to
ensure that appropriate action is taken.The Agency is also contacting local authorities to raise their awareness to this contamination so they can take any necessary steps to protect the food

The Agency acts as a watchdog to ensure that food safety is given high priority during the authorisation and monitoring processes for veterinary medicines, so that any residues in food are as
low as practically possible and within safe limits.

The survey was recommended by the VRC following a series of rapid alert notifications from the European Commission regarding findings of residues of chloramphenicol in royal jelly in other
Member States.

The VRC is an independent advisory committee that oversees the UK’s surveillance of residues of veterinary medicines. It advises the Chief Executives of the VMD and the Agency on the programmes
and the significance of their results.

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