Food Law News - UK - 2006


FSA Consultation Letter, 7 December 2006

CONTAMINANTS - Draft Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2007

The draft Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2007 will give effect to a new Commission regulation that consolidates and replaces Commission Regulation (EC) No 466/2001, as amended, setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs and two new allied official control sampling and analysis Commission regulations on dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs and nitrates. Responses are requested by: 12 January 2007

Consultation details

The Commission Regulations are expected to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union shortly and will apply from 1 March 2007.

The key proposals are:

Option 1: do nothing make no provisions for the execution and enforcement of the new Commission regulations. Enforcement authorities would continue to use the Contaminants in Food ( England ) Regulations 2006.

Option 2: make provision for the execution and enforcement of the new Commission regulations under The Contaminants in Food ( England ) Regulations 2007. This will provide enforcement authorities with the powers to take samples and arrange for the analysis of foodstuffs to check compliance with the new European Community legislation and to take appropriate action where foodstuffs are found to be non-compliant. The SI will revoke and replace The Contaminants in Food ( England ) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006 No 1464). Similar Regulations would be introduced in Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland .

Background

The purpose of the draft Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2007 is to provide enforcement authorities and industry with the necessary domestic legal framework to ensure compliance with European Community (EC) measures setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs and two new allied official control sampling and analysis Commission regulations on dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs and nitrates.

Although Commission regulations are directly applicable in Member States from the date that they take effect, provisions must be made for their execution and enforcement. The draft Contaminants in Food ( England ) Regulations 2007 have been developed for this purpose. The draft regulations will revoke and replace the current regulations (the Contaminants in Food ( England ) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006 No 1464)) which came into force on 1 July 2006.

Corresponding regulations will apply in Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland .

Under UK legislative procedures, the views of interested parties are taken into consideration before such regulations are introduced.

We invite comments and views from all stakeholders on the draft Statutory Instrument and the options available.

As part of the consultation procedure this package also includes a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA). The RIA explores the potential benefits or costs to consumers' health and also assesses the likely additional costs to enforcement authorities, industry and other organisations of enforcing or complying with the legislation. It also provides the background to the aims of the EC measures and the development of the new Commission regulations that have necessitated the development of a new SI.

In summary, the main aim of the new Commission regulation is to consolidate Commission Regulation 466/2001, which has been amended 18 times since it applied in April 2002, thus simplifying the legislation by removing repetition. It also clarifies the legal provisions and interpretation of the text; includes updated views on risk assessments; takes account of new information and developments in Codex Alimentarius and brings the definition of the products of animal origin in line with the definitions given in Regulation EC No 853/2004 .

As a result, the scope of the original legislation has been widened in some instances, there have been some changes to the existing maximum limits and certain foodstuffs have now been included or excluded from the scope of the legislation.

A summary of the key changes is given in the accompanying document (see below). Stakeholders have been consulted on the possible implications of the EC measures throughout the negotiations and copies of the draft documents have been made available for comments and views. Information on earlier RIAs in respect to Commission Regulation 466/2001 and its amendments is given in the accompanying document.

The Commission regulations are expected to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union shortly and stakeholders will be notified as soon as possible after this. The Regulations will apply across the EU from 1 March 2007. Copies of the relevant European legislation on contaminants are available from the Commission website.

For further details, see also: Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment


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