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.