Food Law News - EU - 1997

12 November 1997: CONTAMINANTS - Mycotoxins - EC Permitted Levels

MAFF Letter, 12 November 1997

Mycotoxins - EC Permitted Levels

A Commission Working Group meeting on 10 November 1997 discussed the following mycotoxin issues: the fine tuning of the Commission proposals on aflatoxins, the current Community-wide ban on the import of Iranian pistachio nuts and a further discussion of ochratoxin A (OA).

The Commission did not re-open discussion of the pre-draft Regulation [see previous item, 16 October 1997], or the pre-draft Directive, but sought comments of an editorial nature so that the documents could be finalised before being submitted to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for its comments. The revised documents will be circulated to Member States in 2-3 weeks when they are submitted to the WTO.

The Commission now finds itself in a difficult position with respect to its Community-wide ban on the import of Iranian pistachio nuts [see previous items, 9 September 1997 and 1 September 1997]. The ban made under the Food Hygiene Directive expires on 8 December and the Commission has to decide whether to continue it. No decision has been taken yet, but Member States were consulted about the possibility of replacing the ban by strict Community import conditions through a single designated point of entry per country with certificates of analysis from reputable laboratories, signed and endorsed by the Iranian Minister of Public Health. Although no decision has yet been taken, the Commission has to make a fresh proposal before the present ban expires.

There was a brief discussion of further information on OA surveillance which had become available since the last discussion on 7/8 July. Germany supported the UK’s concerns about the contamination of dried vine fruits. The Commission will consider these data when it makes a formal proposal for the regulation of OA. This is unlikely to be until the New Year since it is dependent on the conclusions of the Scientific Committee for Food’s (SCF) review.

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