The use of veterinary medicinal products in the bee sector has to comply with the European rules on veterinary medicinal products. The Commission takes into account the limited availability of veterinary medicines for bees during the review of the EU veterinary medicinal products legislation.
Residues of veterinary medicines
For the purposes of European legislation honey is defined in Council Directive 2001/110/EC.
In the European Union, veterinary medicinal products intended for use in food producing animals have to be scientifically evaluated according to human food safety requirements (Regulation (EC) No 470/2009).
EU Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) in honey are listed in Regulation (EU) No 37/2010 for residues of pharmacologically active substances in honey. For some substances (e.g. amitraz and coumaphos) an MRL has been established, whilst for other substances the evaluation demonstrated that no MRL was required to protect food safety (flumethrin, oxalic acid and tau fluvalinate). Products that have not been assessed as safe according to these requirements can neither be authorised nor used otherwise for food production animals.
Pesticide residues may be taken up by honey bees during the collection of nectar and/or pollen when plant protection products are used while the treated crops are flowering. EU MRLs for pesticide residues are set in the framework of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005.