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  • Author: Katarzyna Sielska x
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The use of growth promoters in animal husbandry to increase weight gain and efficiency of feed conversion into muscle has been banned in the European Union since 1988, and under Directive 96/23/EC, surveillance for anabolic steroid hormones is obligatory. The hormones present in animal tissues may be of endogenous origin or may result from illegal administration. Steps have been taken to determine selected steroids in the form of esters in the alternative matrix of animal hair. Their detection in biological material is direct proof of the illegal use of anabolics.

Material and Methods

The procedure for the determination of steroid esters in animal hair, based on digestion, extraction, purification, and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry was validated under the current regulations. In total, 348 samples of animal hair were examined using this method.


Good recoveries and precision values (RSD) were obtained during validation. Decision limits (CCα) and detection capabilities (CCβ) were in the ranges of 2.57–4.18 μg kg−1 and 4.38–7.12 μg kg−1, respectively. The method met the criteria for confirmation techniques with respect to Commission Decision 2002/657/EC.


Testing for steroid esters in animal hair was introduced into the National Residue Control Programme in 2017. Steroid esters were not found in any hair samples above the CCα, which indicates that illegal use of anabolics was not confirmed.


A simple and sensitive gas chromatography method was developed to determine a group of oestrogens in surface water. In the first stage of analysis, enzymatic hydrolysis of oestrogen metabolites with glucuronidase AS-HP was performed. Free compounds were extracted from 200 mL of water sample on C18 SPE column (6 mL, 1000 mg). The evaporated extract was subjected to derivatisation with a mixture of MSTFA/NH4I/DTT (1000:2:5, v/w/w). The separation of the analytes on HP-5ms capillary column was conducted. The method was validated according to the Commission Decision 2002/657/EC. Recovery in spiked samples ranged from 90% to 120 % with standard deviation lower than 30% for all examined compounds. The decision limit and detection capability of five oestrogens were in the range of 0.3-0.6 ng L-1 and 0.5-0.9 ng L-1, respectively. Nineteen water samples collected from different sites of several Polish rivers and lakes were tested for the presence of oestrogens. Some target compounds such as 17α-oestradiol, 17β-oestradiol, oestrone, oestriol, and 17α-ethynyloestradiol were found in trace amounts in the analysed samples. The highest concentration observed for oestradiol reached 23 ng L-1.


Introduction: In the European Union, the use of thyreostatic drugs for fattening slaughter animals has been banned since 1981 under Council Directive 81/602/EEC. For protection of consumer health against unwanted residues and in compliance with Directive 96/23, each EU country must monitor thyreostats in samples of animal origin. This paper presents the results of research on thyreostatic residues carried out in Poland in 2011–2017.

Material and Methods: The material for testing was urine (n = 3,491), drinking water (n = 127), and muscle samples (n = 349) officially collected by Veterinary Sanitary Inspectors in slaughterhouses and farms throughout the country in accordance with the national residue control plan. The samples were examined for the presence of tapazole, thiouracil, methylthiouracil, propylthiouracil, and phenylthiouracil using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry through an accredited method.

Results: In four bovine and three porcine urine samples, the permissible thiouracil concentration was exceeded. In one sample of porcine urine, methyl- and propylthiouracil were found. The presence of thiouracil and its derivatives in urine samples is most likely due to feeding animals diet containing cruciferous plants.

Conclusions: The results of research indicate that thyreostats are not used for anabolic purposes in slaughter animals in Poland.


Introduction: Studies of anabolic hormone residues in the tissues of slaughter animals have been carried out in Poland for more than 25 years. During the period of 2011 to 2015, a total of 35 387 samples from different animal species were tested in the National Residue Control Programme for the presence of residues of compounds that cause hormonal effects, as listed in Annex 1 of Directive 96/23/EC.

Material and Methods: The research was conducted in the National Reference Laboratory and eight regional laboratories in departments of veterinary hygiene located throughout the country. Urine, muscle tissue, serum, kidney fat, and drinking water were the targeted matrices. Test methods based on instrumental techniques such as gas and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry were applied, as well as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA).

Results: The concentration of detected hormones exceeded the decision limits in 30 samples, the consequence of which was 41 non-compliances with current applicable criteria. The hormones found present pseudo-endogenous (nortestosterone and boldenone) only, while synthetic hormones were not identified.

Conclusion: The non-compliant findings constitute a small percentage (0.085%) of the five-year analysis compilation. On this basis the related food produced in Poland can be accepted as safe for human consumption with regard to the hormone residues tested.