Food Law News - EU - 1999

26 January 1999: ADDITIVES - Poposal Amending Directives on Purity Criteria


JFSSG Letter, 26 January 1999

Commission Proposal Amending Directives 95/31/EC, 95/45/EC and 96/77/EC on Purity Criteria Concerning Food Additives from Genetically Modified Organisms

Further to the JFSSG letter of
22 December 1998, this letter describes the outcome of the Commission Working Group discussion on the above subject in Brussels on 19 & 20 January 1999.

The Commission Working Group had a useful discussion in which the Commission accepted that its proposed approach needed to be revised in a fundamental way in order to make it clearer, realistic and workable (in terms of legal implementation and enforceability).

The Commission pointed out that they were looking for a horizontal and uniform approach to deal with food additives from sources which had not been evaluated by the SCF. The Commission recognised that its proposal was very much a first draft, which required amendment in order to overcome all the attendant practical difficulties. Nevertheless, most Member States thanked the Commission for progressing work in this important area and were pleased with the shift of focus away from the recitals into the main articles of the legislation.

The Commission confirmed that the SCF was already completely overloaded with work on the additives front, and it was currently reviewing its working procedures. One idea currently being considered was the setting up of a task force or working group specifically to consider food additive specifications.

Some Member States wanted the scope of the Commission's proposal restricted to GM additives, but most (including the UK) favoured a more general approach. The UK provided a paper listing the UKís main concerns (and shown below). Several Member States supported the UK views, in whole or in part.

It was agreed that the Commission should invite representatives of the SCF secretariat to the next discussion on this subject (possibly in April) so that they could indicate what evaluation work the SCF was realistically able to do in the short and medium-term. It was generally agreed that the SCF needed to simplify its procedures; the key point was clear and pertinent questions needed to be put to the SCF to avoid unnecessary consideration and lengthy delays.

The Commission's stated aim was to have clear rules not only for national governments, but also for manufacturers and enforcement authorities. To this end, they intend to draft some Commission guidelines to accompany the proposal, which would set out the respective roles of the Commission, the SCF, national authorities and others. Member States have been asked to send in any drafting suggestions for incorporation into the Commission's proposal.

Comments or suggestions are invited and requested by 31 March.

UK Comments on the Commissionís Proposals

General comments

Relationship with Novel Foods Legislation


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