Food Law News - EU - 2001

FSA Letter, 29 June 2001

CONTAMINANTS - European Commission Working Document on Dioxins in Animal Feedingstuffs - Latest Proposals

The FSA is writing, further to letters of 3 April and 14 May, to update on the latest drafts of the Commission's proposals for measures to limit the presence of dioxins in animal feedingstuffs, and to seek responses which can be fed into forthcoming discussion of these proposals at the next meeting of the Standing Committee on 9-10 July.

The latest draft of the measure deletes both the proposal for the maximum permitted levels (MPLs) to apply from 2006 and the intention to apply target levels for feeds. In addition, the action thresholds which would trigger investigations into the sources of any contamination would now be guidelines for EU Member States. The Commission has also recognised the need to obtain more information on both dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in a variety of feed materials and manufactured feeds, and proposes to review both the MPLs and the action thresholds by the end of 2004 in the light of new data received (especially with regard to dioxin-like PCBs).

The revised proposals were generally well received by Member States at the recent Standing Committee meeting on 7-8 June, although some considered that it was still premature to set MPLs without adequate supporting data. Attention was drawn once more to the lack of agreed and validated analytical methods -analysis for dioxins is currently expensive, particularly when seeking to identify levels close to the limits of detection. Some Member States argued that the proposed baselines should therefore be raised from 0.5ng to 1.0ng WHO-PCDD/F-TEQ/kg, which should be sufficient to identify any gross contamination of materials; the Commission now seems willing to consider 0.75ng. The Standing Committee meeting also had in mind that the European Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) has adjusted its temporary tolerable weekly intake for dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs from 7 to 14pf WHO-TEQ/kg body weight.

The FSA have received some responses to their earlier letters, and would be grateful to receive any further comments which can help inform the UK negotiating position at the next meeting of the Standing Committee on 9-10 July. Comments should be sent by 6 July. Within a slightly longer timescale, we would also appreciate any advice on the cost implications of the proposals, as we must compile a Regulatory Impact Assessment and consider whether the proposed measures are proportionate to the risks.

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