Food Law News - EU - 2002

FSA Consultation Letter, 17 December 2002

CONTAMINANTS - Commission proposals for harmonised limits for tin and PAHs

The consultation invites comments on Commission proposals for harmonised limits for tin and PAHs. The FSA would like to thank those respondents who submitted comments and data, which were taken forward to the Commission Working Group meeting on 6 December. The letter provides an update on the outcome of the discussions and invites comments and the submission of any further data in relation to levels of tin in canned beverages.

The EC Working Group meeting considered:

Draft proposal for statutory limits for tin (SANCO/1034/2002-1)

Infant foods

On 27 November 2001, the Commission published a draft proposal on statutory limits for tin (SANCO/1034/2002-1). You will wish to be aware that a limit of 200 mg/kg for tin in canned food and a precautionary limit of 50 mg/kg for canned infant food found favour.

Some Member States also requested that the Commission's formal proposals include a more detailed definition of infant foods, that makes clear that all foods intended/marketed for infants are covered. Currently only references to directives 96/5/EC, as amended and 91/321/EEC, as amended are cited. The Commission also agreed to consider whether the scope of the proposal should also apply to foods for special medical purposes.


No consensus was reached for limits on beverages. Discussion was hampered by a lack of data, the Commission therefore requested that Member States obtain further data so that agreement can be reached at the next meeting. If no data is forthcoming it is likely that the limit of 50 mg/kg will be prevail.

The UK requested clarification of the scope of products covered by the term 'beverage' and elaboration of a suitable definition.

Proposal for harmonised limits for PAHs

The Commission indicated its intention to develop a working document proposing limits for Member States consideration. This will focus on vegetable oils, especially olive pomace oil, and would include sampling and analysis requirements. Member States commented on the need for:


The Commission has invited comments from Member States on two Codex documents. The Commission intends to develop an updated EC harmonised position on the Discussion Paper on Tin early in the new year. In particular it was considered unacceptable that the proposed limit for liquid foods of 200 mg/kg was above that identified as causing acute health effects. The Code of Practice for the Prevention and Reduction of Lead in Food was also discussed, and although the text was considered broadly acceptable specific comments were invited. These papers are available from the Codex website.

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