Food Law News - EU - 2001

Standing Committee for Foodstuffs, Extract from minutes of meeting - 17-18 December 2001 CONTAMINANTS - Consumption of star anise infusion Information and exchange of views on the adverse effects in infants/adults linked to the consumption of star anise infusion (Illicium anisatum=Japanese star anise).

Measures taken by some Member States

The Commission consulted the Committee on a draft Commission Decision, based on Article 10 of Directive 93/43/EEC, laying down special conditions on the import of star anise originating from third countries.

Notifications received recently via the Rapid Alert System for Food (RASFF) had revealed several cases of intoxication in humans (especially infants) due the consumption of infusions containing star anise. Investigations had shown the cause of the problem to be the total or partial substitution of the edible star anise (Chinese star anise - Illicium verum) with the toxic star anise (Japanese star anise - Illicium anisatum). These two products are exclusively imported products (mainly from China and Vietnam).

Since the presence of Japanese star anise in food presents a potential risk to human health, it is proposed in this draft Decision that:

The proposal was largely welcomed by the Committee, which requested only a few modifications with regard to the scope of the decision, the sampling and analysis of consignments and the list of points of entry through which star anise may be imported into the European Community.

The Commission would bear these requests in mind in the final text prior to adoption of the Decision.

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