Food Law News - EU - 1998

3 April 1998: CONTAMINANTS - Mycotoxins - EC Permitted Levels

MAFF/DoH Letter, 3 April 1998

Mycotoxins - EC Permitted Levels

The letter relates to discussions at the EC Commission Working Group meeting on 30 March which was held to discuss the comments received through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the proposed EC aflatoxins regulation. Following the WTO comments and the discussion at the recent CODEX meeting, the Commission has held internal discussions on the need to avoid a serious trade dispute with producer countries. It therefore came to the meeting to get a compromise from Member States which should not dilute the consumer safety aspects of the proposals, but would make some concession to the concerns of producer countries about barriers to free trade.

Following a full discussion of each country’s WTO submission, the Commission tried to strike a balance between those Member States reluctant to make concessions and those who were prepared to entertain changes to avoid a serious trade dispute as long as consumer protection was not reduced in any way. It is likely that it will propose the following changes to the draft regulation and draft directive:

The letter suggests that these changes have no implications for consumer safety. The limits for aflatoxins in the final food or food ingredient remain unchanged at 2 mg/kg AFB1 and 4 mg/kg AFTot, which provide for an even greater level of consumer protection than current UK regulations. The proposed limits mentioned in the first point above are higher than current UK regulations but the material will have to be cleaned prior to use.

The Commission will now incorporate these changes into revised draft documents which will be presented to the next meeting of the EC Standing Committee on Foodstuffs (22-23 April) for a view. If there are no major objections, a vote is likely to be taken at the subsequent meeting on 17-18 June. In the likelihood of the Commission getting majority support from Member States for these proposals, these will become EC law shortly afterwards, following publication in the Official Journal.

For previous item, see 22 January 1998.

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