Welcoming the legislation, Health Minister, Gisela Stuart said:
"These tough new rules will increase yet further the level of protection provided in law to babies and young children."
The new limits, which will apply from 1st July 2002, are set at the very low level of 0.01 mg/kg for all pesticides. The new Regulations apply to England, but similar regulations will also be made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland shortly.
EC Directives 91/321/EEC and 96/5/EC lay down rules for the labelling and composition of infant formula and baby foods at European Community level respectively. These rules are implemented nationally by the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 1995 (as amended) and the Processed Cereal-based Foods and Baby Foods for Infants and Young Children Regulations 1997 (as amended).
The new regulations applicable to infant and follow-on formula are the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2000. The regulations amend the principal UK regulations of the same name and implement EC directive 1999/50/EC.
The new regulations applicable to baby foods are the Processed Cereal-based Foods and Baby Foods for Infants and Young Children (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2000. The regulations amend the principal UK regulations of the same name and implement European Community directive 1999/39/EC
The regulations come into full effect on 1st July 2002 following a transitional period to allow manufacturers to ensure their products comply with the new limits.
Public consultation on both sets of draft regulations was announced in the Food Safety Information Bulletin 115. The consultation periods for the regulations ran from 19th November 1999 until 28th January 2000 for infant formula; and 17 November 1999 until 26 January 2000 for baby foods.