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Food and Feed Safety (13-10-2010)

EU adjusts controls on imported products of plant origin on the basis of their safety record

Following the latest results of checks performed at national level, the EU will reduce the intensity of controls for three imported products, currently subject to reinforced border surveillance, and increase the control frequency for a fourth product.

In particular, the proposed changes will concern mangoes from the Dominican Republic, trace elements (i.e. certain chemical substances suitable for use in feed and food in minimum quantity) from China and groundnuts from Brazil. The frequency of border controls currently applicable to these commodities will be lowered from 50% to 10%. Indian groundnuts, which are currently listed for the possible presence of aflatoxins, will have the relevant control frequency increased from 10% to 20%.

The Commission presented a proposal to amend the list of products subject to reinforced checks (Annex I to the Regulation) during yesterday's meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), which endorsed the recommendations.

Regulation (EC) No. 669/2009 entered into force on January 25 this year. It provides for a set of common rules for official controls on certain imports of plant origin. Checks on documents accompanying the consignments are carried out systematically at EU borders, while physical checks are performed at a lower frequency. Increased checks are applied to find out the possible presence of a number of substances that may pose a risk to human and animal health, such as aflatoxins in nuts and pesticides in fruit and vegetables.

The amendments to Annex I are now subject to the scrutiny of the European Parliament. They are expected to enter into force on January 1, 2011.

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