Food Law News - EU - 2004

FSA Letter, 3 November 2004

CONTAMINANTS Mycotoxins : EC Permitted levels

A copy of the original letter, including the attachements, is available on this site: FSA Mycotoxin Letter

Discussions on harmonised controls for mycotoxins were continued at a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 12 October 2004 . In preparation for the next CCFAC, which will be held in The Hague between the 25th and 29th April 2005, discussions continued at a Commission co-ordination meeting, on the 7th October.

Ochratoxin A

The Regulation setting maximum limits for ochratoxin A in coffee products, wine and grape juice and musts is currently out for WTO consultation, which is due to end on 31 October. To date only two WTO member countries have commented and voiced their concerns that the Regulation will be extended to green coffee, but welcomed the fact that the levels were higher that those currently being applied by one Member State. They also questioned the levels for soluble coffee. If significant comments are received before the end of the consultation period the matter would have to be returned to the Committee. It was agreed to include a requirement that the Commission collate and circulate the results of the monitoring by Member States. The date of application will be 1 April 2005 . The draft Regulation was adopted by qualified majority vote. The Commission indicated that the project on the toxicology of ochratoxin A was nearing completion and the report will be available by the end of the year. EFSA will then be asked for their opinion.

Following minor textural changes to the draft Commission Directive laying down the sampling methods and methods of analysis for the official control of the levels of ochratoxin A, a vote in favour of the draft was obtained from all Member States present.

The Commission indicated that it intends to start discussions on a consolidated text for sampling and analysis for mycotoxins.


Iranian pistachios and pistachio products

The coming into force date of the Commission Decision was set back to 1 January 2005 to take account of the current delays in publication caused by translation difficulties. Details of the Decision are given in Annex 1 of the FSA letter.

Guidance document for competent authorities for the control of compliance with EU legislation on aflatoxins

It was agreed that the current document, a copy of which is attached to the letter, would be translated and put on the Commission website for 3 months for consultation, with the understanding that this is a living document and it would be updated on a regular basis. Following this consultation the document will be discussed further at the Working Group.


The Commission requested Member States to consider that the proposal had been discussed at 16 Working Group meetings and that the text was a compromise, which it hoped Member States could accept. It did not think that any benefit could be derived from further discussion. Details of the proposed maximum limits are given in Annex 2 of the letter. At the request of several Member States, the Commission agreed to produce a Code of Practice aimed at reducing levels of Fusarium toxins and publish it as a Recommendation. There was a majority agreement to send the proposal to WTO for member countries' comments.

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