Residue control in the European Union has the primary goal to protect consumers from intolerable health hazards which may be associated with residues of veterinary drugs or non-licensed or forbidden substances in animal products. The present situation regarding residue control in the EU is discussed. In the near future Directive 96/23 will be revised and residue monitoring will become more risk based, which will present challenges to laboratories. What are the new risks (compounds), and how can these be effectively identified and controlled? Techniques and matrices will change in the coming years to accommodate this new monitoring system.