Food Law News - EU - 1999

27 January 1999: FOOD IRRADIATION - Food irradiation - Agreement at last

EP The Week, 27 January 1999

Food irradiation - Agreement at last

Undine-Uta Bloch von Blottnitz (D, Greens) welcomed the fact that after ten years a satisfactory solution had finally been reached on the question of food ionisation. The agreement reached in conciliation would enable standard rules to be drawn up on ionised food and thus increase the chances of devising an acceptable system of labelling. The process is designed to extend the shelf life and improve appearance of certain foods, but questions have been raised over safety and at present it is banned in Germany and Sweden but authorised in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The House subsequently approved the agreement with Council negotiated under the conciliation procedure on the long-running dispute over food irradiation.

In initially approving Council's two common positions designed to permit the process for certain foodstuffs in February 1998, MEPs adopted several amendments designed to strengthen provisions relating to conditions governing food irradiation and allaying consumer concerns, the time period for the withdrawal of products not complying with the legislation and implementing procedures or "comitology".

Now agreement has been reached on the outstanding points, irradiation will be permitted in the first place for mixed herbs, spices and seasonings with the final list of foods to be drawn up by a new Commission before 31 December 2000, in consultation with the Scientific Committee on Food and taking into account national considerations.

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