Food Law News - EU - 1996

June 1996: OFFICIAL CONTROL - EU Food Sampling Programme 1996

EU Food Sampling Programme 1996 : Commission Recommendation of 17th April 1996 Concerning a Coordinated Programme for the Official Control of Foodstuffs for 1996 (96/290/EC) (OJ L109/24, 3.5.96)

The Commission has published its requirements for the 1996 coordinated sampling programme as provided for by the Official Control of Foodstuffs Directive (89/397/EEC).

For 1996, the Commission is requesting Member States to sample the following. Suggestions are made for the methods of sampling and analysis. Although sampling rates have not been set Member States are recommended to ensure that the number of samples taken is sufficient to provide an overview of the subject under consideration in each Member State. Example record sheets are provided in the Official Journal to ease comparability of the results

  1. Microbiological assessment of dried and fermented ready-to-eat meats and meat products.

    These products are to be sampled at the point of retail sale. The samples are to be subjected to microbiological examination for the presence of Salmonellae, E.coli 0157:H7 and enumeration of Staphlococcus aureus. The products pH and water activity are to be noted. The results are to be recorded in 3 categories: dry and semi-dry sausage, undried sausage and raw (country-style) hams.

  2. Migration of Plasticizers.

    Limits on the amount of plasticizers (substances added to plastic to enhance their suppleness) permitted to migrate to foods are specified in Directive 90/128/EEC. They contribute a high level to the overall migration of substances from plasticized plastics into foods. These samples will assess compliance with the legal limits.

  3. Temperature control of chilled foods on sale to the final consumer.

    The Directive on the hygiene of foodstuffs (93/43/EEC) requires foods which are likely to support the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms or the formation of toxins to be kept at temperatures which would not result in a risk to health. The programme is to look at 4 categories of foods to assess their temperatures at the point of sale. The categories are:

    • chilled cooked foods to be eaten without further reheating;
    • chilled cooked foods requiring reheating only (not a full cooking process) prior to consumption;
    • raw prepared foods to be eaten after a full heat process;
    • raw preepared foods to be eaten raw.

  4. Benzo(a)pyrene in smoked pork products.

    The Directive on flavourings (88/388/EEC) has set maximum limits on the levels of the smoked aroma substance 3,4 benzo-pyrene in foodstuffs. Checks are to be conducted to assess the levels of the substance in smoked port products.

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