Food Law News - EU - 1998

1 July 1998: CONTAMINANTS - Mycotoxins - EC Permitted levels

JFSSG Letter, 1 July 1998

Mycotoxins - EC Permitted levels

The letter follows a meeting of the EC Working Group on Agricultural Contaminants on 29 June. The meeting discussed implementation of the legislation on aflatoxins and drafting of controls on Ochratoxin A (OA).


The Standing Committee for Foodstuffs approved the aflatoxin regulation and directive by a unanimous vote at its meeting on 19 June. The implementation date for the regulation is 1 January 1999. The implementation date for the sampling directive is 31 December 2000 although Member States are encouraged to put procedures into practice as soon as possible. The UK repeated its concerns regarding the practical difficulties of implementation. A number of Member States , however, have indicated that they intend to implement the sampling directive as soon as possible. The Commission has undertaken to hold further meeting dedicated to discussing this issue.

Regarding the maximum limits for aflatoxins in cereals and cereal products, the Commission has agreed to discuss this in detail at a future meeting. This discussion will include consideration of the requirements for appropriate evidence which will permit a dual limit for these commodities. The Commission raised the possibility of amending the regulation to set maximum limits for aflatoxins in spices and asked Member States to consider this further before the next meeting. The 1997 EU wide co-ordinated sampling programme included aflatoxins in spices and the Commission is awaiting the results of this survey.

Ochratoxin A

A toxicological opinion on OA is still awaited from the Scientific Committee on Food. The Commission anticipate that this will be forthcoming later in the year. Nevertheless, the Commission have made a formal undertaking to have a draft proposal ready for discussion at the next Working Group meeting on 8 September. Member States have been asked to consider various issues prior to the meeting including:

For previous item, see 23 April 1998.

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