Action limits’ have been set for substances for which no residue limits have been set in the law, to be able to decide whether the result of a residue analysis should be regarded as positive or negative. The action limits for natural hormones depend on the age and gender of the animal.
Fruit and vegetables are healthy. Scientific research has shown that if people were to eat more fruit and vegetables there would be considerably fewer cases of cancer. However the most recent dietary survey conducted in the Netherlands (Voedselconsumptiepeiling, VCP-3) shows that the consumption of fruit and vegetables has declined considerably.
The analysis of meat for environmental contaminants focuses on substances such as polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) and a number of organochlorine substances, such as lindane and dieldrin/aldrin. These substances are known to be able to accumulate in the food chain. As in previous years, there were no violations of the limits set in the Commodity Act or the Pesticide Act. A certain percentage of the fat samples had a positive test result, the percentages differing per species. It is especially hexachlorobenzene and to a lesser extent lindane that are found now and then.
In the Netherlands the Dutch government and agribusiness have set up the Multi-year Plan Crop Protection. One important objective for the year 2000 is to halve the use of pesticides in comparison to 1984-1986. Other goals are to make the agricultural sector in the year 2000 less dependent on chemicals and to reduce the emission of pesticides into the environment.
A lot of attention is given in the National Plan to traces of antibiotics. There is a risk, with long-term use of antibiotics, that the bacteria causing a disease may become resistant to the antibiotic. So the excessive preventative use of antibiotics has been condemned nationally and internationally. Every country in the EU is required to check 0.1 percent of slaughtered animals for the presence of bacterial growth inhibitors, such as antibiotics and sulphonamides.