Food Law News - EU - 2001


Standing Committee for Foodstuffs, Extract from minutes of meeting - 25 October 2001

CONTAMINANTS - Discussions concerning PCBs in foodstuffs, aflatoxins in raw cereals, heavy metals, 3-MCPD, nitrates in lettuce and spinach, musks and Brominated flame retardants (BFRs)

Discussion and possible opinion on a draft Commission Directive laying down the sampling method and the methods of analysis for the official control of dioxins and the determination of dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs. (SANCO/3432/2001)

The proposed draft directive contains provisions on the sampling procedure to be followed and foresees the establishment of a requirements for methods of analysis in official control of the levels of dioxins and the determination of dioxin-like PCBs. The monitoring for the presence of dioxins in foodstuffs can be performed by a strategy involving a screening method in order to select those samples with significant levels needs to be determined/confirmed by a confirmatory method (High Resolution Gas Chromatography - High Resolution Mass Spectrometry -HRGC/ HRMS).

Requirements are foreseen for laboratories, for GC-MS methods to be complied with for screening and confirmatory purposes and for screening methods of analysis (including cell based and kit based bioassays). With regard to kit-based bioassays, it was recognized that no evidence has yet been submitted of commercially available assays having sufficient sensitivity and reliability for screening for the presence of dioxins at the required levels in samples of foodstuffs. Furthermore requirements are foreseen for the reporting of the analytical results.

The Committee generally welcomed the draft Directive. It was noted that the document has been sent to experts of all member States for comments. Several comments were received which were taken into account in a revised version of this draft Directive. Special attention has been paid to the correlation of this draft Directive with the draft Commission Decision laying down performance criteria for the analytical methods to be used for certain substances and residues thereof in live animals and animal products according to Council Directive 96/23/EC to avoid inconsistencies.

The revised version will be sent again to experts of Member States for further comments before further discussion and opinion at a next meeting of the Committee.

Discussion and possible opinion on a draft Commission Regulation amending Commission Regulation (EC) N 194/97 of 31 January 1997 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants (aflatoxins in raw cereals) (Doc. SANCO/2304/01)

The content of the proposed draft Regulation has been extensively discussed at the last meeting of the Committee.

The Legal Service of the Commission advised to amend not only the currently in force Commission Regulation 194/97 but also to amend Commission Regulation (EC) N) 466/2001 of 8 March 2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs as this last Regulation will repeal and replace Regulation (EC) No 194/97 with effect from 5 April 2002.

This amendment has resulted in several editorial changes, including a change in the title. However no other substantial changes have been made in comparison with the version which was presented at the last meeting of the Committee. The vote has taken place on the "Draft Commission regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 194/97 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs and Regulation (EC) No 466/2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs" and a favourable opinion has been expressed.

Exchange of views on a draft amendment to Regulation 466/2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (heavy metals) Sanco/3435/01

The Committee discussed a draft Commission proposal to amend Commission Regulation (EC) No 466/2001, in particular for heavy metals (lead, cadmium and mercury) in certain fishery products. The Committee gave general support for the proposal, subject to clear differentiation on sardines and sardinops species. Member States were asked to submit to the Commission comments on the different language versions of the document. This item will return to the agenda for a possible vote at the next meeting.

Exchange of views on a draft working document proposing an amendment to Regulation 466/2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (3-MCPD)

Maximum levels are set in Regulation (EC) No 466/2001 for 3-MCPD in soy sauce and hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP), to take effect on 5 April 2002. However, the regulation indicates that the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) will re-evaluate the toxicity of 3-MCPD in the light of new studies and the adequacy of the maximum levels then should be reconsidered. The revised opinion of the SCF concludes that 3-MCPD is not genotoxic in humans. A tolerable daily intake (TDI) level of 2 g/kg Body weight is established. In the light of this revised opinion and other available information the adequacy of the maximum levels was discussed. No firm conclusion was reached.

Exchange of views on a draft working document proposing an amendment to Regulation 466/2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (nitrates in lettuce and spinach)

The Committee gave general support for the proposal. The draft proposal would go for consultation within the Commission services and would return to a future agenda for a possible vote.

Musks

Available information on levels of musks in foodstuffs is limited. Studies were ongoing in some Member States and would be completed by early 2003. No immediate unacceptable health risk was identified from levels in food. This item will return to the agenda when the reports from the ongoing studies become available.

Brominated flame retardants (BFRs)

Available information on levels of BFRs in foodstuffs is limited. Studies on BFRs in food were underway in several Member States and these were likely to be completed by early 2003. No immediate unacceptable health risk was identified from levels in food. This item will return to the agenda when the reports from the ongoing studies become available


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