Food Law News - UK - 2004

FSA Consultation Letter, 26 November 2004

CONTAMINANTS - Import controls on food imported from Chernobyl : affected third countries

The FSA are seeking comments on proposed legislation to provide for the enforcement of Council regulation 737/90, Commission Regulation 1661/1999 governing imports of foods originating in third countries following the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Responses are requested by: 18 February 2005

Consultation details

There is a requirement to implement these Regulations by providing enforcement powers in the UK , but information is required on the impact of the proposed regulation on all stakeholders, to influence the form this legislation will take.

The key proposals are:

Detailed information is requested from all affected stakeholders on the impact of the proposed options for regulation on themselves or their organisation.

Views from each of the devolved regions will be considered appropriately during the drafting of legislation. In Scotland and Northern Ireland parallel legislation will be drafted. For England and Wales a legal decision is awaited on whether to draft joint or parallel legislation.

EC Regulation 737/90 (OJ No. L82, 29.3.90, p.1) sets the limits for radiocaesium contamination in food imported to the European Union from Chernobyl-affected third countries. Regulation 1661/1999 sets out further controls on the import of wild (non-cultivated) mushrooms and certain products of animal origin from these countries into the EU.

Regulation 737/90 must be read with Regulation 1609/2000 (OJ No. L185, 25.7.2000). Regulation 1609/2000 is the last of a series of EC Regulations setting out what Regulation 737/90 applies to, all of which will be considered within this consultation. It specifies that the limits of radiocaesium in food, imported from Chernobyl-affected countries, applies to wild mushrooms, fruits of the genus Vaccinium (for example, cranberries and bilberries), live animals and certain products of animal origin. All other products are excluded. A summary of Regulation 737/90 and the amendments to it is provided in Appendix 2 to the Regulatory Impact Assessment.

Regulation 1661/1999 (OJ No. L197, 29.7.99, p.17) is an adjustment of Regulation 737/90 that specifies more stringent controls on wild mushrooms and certain products of animal origin entering the EU from listed third countries. The list of third countries included within the Regulation (at Annex IV) was amended by Annexe II, Section 16, Part E to the Act of Accession (OJ No. L236, 23.9.2003, p.33) which removed those countries that are now Member States. A summary of Regulation 1661/1999 and the amendments to it is provided in Appendix 2 to the Regulatory Impact Assessment prepared by the FSA [currently available on their web-site at: . ]

As EC Regulations, Regulations 737/90 and 1661/1999 are directly applicable in Member States and cannot be repeated in national legislation. However, it is necessary to introduce enforcement powers and penalties in relation to the obligations on importers laid out in the regulations. This will be effected by means of Statutory Instruments.

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