Food Law News - EU - 2001


Standing Committee for Foodstuffs, Extract from minutes of meeting - 17-18 December 2001

CONTAMINANTS - (1) Sampling and methods of analysis for dioxins, (2) Heavy metals, (3) Nitrates, (4) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in olive-residue oil, and (5) 3-MCPD in foodstuffs

(1) 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.

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 sample preparation, laboratories, for GCMS 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. Some comments were made with regard to the time period foreseen for Member States to transpose the Directive into national law.

The Commission informed the Committee that the draft Commission Directive will be submitted for vote once the internal Commission consultation procedure is finalized.

(2) Exchange of views and possible opinion on a draft Commission Regulation amending Commission Regulation (EC) N 466/2001 of 8 March 2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (heavy metals)

This proposal sets revised maximum levels for heavy metals (lead, cadmium and mercury) in certain fishery products. The Committee voted in favour by qualified majority.

(3) Exchange of views and intention of vote on a draft Commission Regulation amending Commission Regulation (EC) N 466/2001 of 8 March 2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (nitrates)

The proposal had been revised following the comments from the Commission Services. The only material change to the document was to set the proposed maximum level for nitrates in iceberg lettuce to 2500 mg/kg. A single level of 2500 mg/kg was not backed by the Member States, although several supported split levels for winter and summer. This proposal would be further considered by the Commission before being notified to the European Parliament (EP) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The revised draft proposal would return to the agenda for possible opinion next time.

(4) Update on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in olive-residue oil and vegetable oil products.

The Member States which produce olive-residue oil were asked to investigate how to improve production systems to prevent the formation of PAHs in olive-residue oil. A future meeting of experts would be held to discuss the information. The Commission's Food and Veterinary Office would shortly carry out three missions to evaluate official controls in producing Member States on PAHs in olive-residue oil and other vegetable oils.

Standing Committee for Foodstuffs, Extract from minutes of meeting - 17-18 December 2001

(5) Update on 3-MCPD in foodstuffs

Following the Food and Veterinary Office mission to China on 3-MCPD in soy sauce, the Chinese authorities had responded by requiring that the Chinese producers provide certificates with consignements to indicate that 3-MCPD levels have been checked to be safe.


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