Food Law News - EU - 1997

15 January 1997: CONTAMINANTS - Regulation for Nitrate in Lettuce and Spinach

Scottish Office letter, 15 January 1997

Regulation for Nitrate in Lettuce and Spinach

The Commission proposal to set limits for nitrate in lettuce and spinach was considered at the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs on December 1996. The proposal was agreed by a majority decision and the resulting Regulation will apply from 15 February 1997.

The letter indicates that, whilst maintaining its long-standing opposition to the principle of this legislation, the UK voted in favour of the Regulation as it now represents the best compromise achievable that safeguards the interests of both our growers and consumers. The Regulation includes provision for a derogation which exempts crops grown for domestic consumption for a transitional period, provided that growers follow Good Agricultural Practice. It is noted that the UK intends to apply this derogation for lettuce and fresh spinach.

The nitrate limits included in the Regulation are:

It is indicated that recent concerns raised by the UK that some domestically produced(summer) spinach and imports from other EU countries in the winter would have difficulty in meeting the limits received no support from the other Member States. The UK will continue to press for this issue to be resolved at the earliest opportunity (probably when the limits are reviewed in 1998)

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