Food Law News - EU - 1998

2 October 1998: CONTAMINANTS - Maximum Levels for Nitrate in Lettuce and Spinach

Scottish Office Letter, 2 October 1998

Maximum Levels for Nitrate in Lettuce and Spinach

The European Commission is undertaking a review of Commission Regulation No 194/97. A European Commission Working Group meeting was held on 8 September 1998 to discuss the results of monitoring for nitrate in lettuce and spinach carried out by all Member States . A preliminary assessment of the results from 1996 and 1997 has shown that nitrate levels vary considerably across Member States and with time. However the results are not sufficient to determine if Good Agricultural Practice is effective in controlling nitrate levels in lettuce and spinach and ensuring that they meet the maximum levels set by European Commission Regulation 194/97.

The outcome of these preliminary discussions is that, subject to approval by the European Commission, it is planned that the review period will be extended for three years to gather more data on nitrate levels and the effectiveness of Good Agricultural Practice in order to set realistic and effective maximum levels for nitrate in lettuce and spinach. During this period it is intended that the present provisions, including an option for application of a derogation, will apply.

The next Working Group meeting is planned for November 1998.

For previous item, see 15 January 1997.

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