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Food Safety

- Regulatory Committees - Standing Committee on Foodstuffs

Summary record of the 80 th meeting - 15 February 2001

Chairperson : Mrs Patricia Brunko

1. a) Opinion on a draft Commission Regulation amending Commission Regulation (EC) N° 194/97 of 31 January 1997 setting maximum limits for certain contaminants (Ochratoxin A)

The draft Commission Regulation establishes a maximum limit for ochratoxin A of 5 µg/kg for raw cereal grains and of 3 µg/kg for derived cereal products (including processed cereal products and cereal grains intended for direct human consumption) and establishes provisionally a maximum limit of 10 µg/kg for dried vine fruit (currants, raisins and sultanas), the latter to be reviewed before 31 December 2002.

The presence of ochratoxin A has also been observed in coffee, wine, beer, grape juice, cocoa and spices. Investigations and research have to be undertaken to determine the different factors involved in the formation of ochratoxin A and to determine the prevention measures to be taken to reduce the presence of Ochratoxin A in these foodstuffs. It is foreseen to review the provisions before 31 December 2002 with a view to include a maximum limit for ochratoxin A for these products taking into account the outcome of the investigations and the prevention measures taken.

The measures have been notified to the WTO for comments (G/SPS/EEC/104) and comments were received from the US, Turkey, Nicaragua, Colombia, Honduras, Ecuador and Guatemala.

The comments were discussed in detail and it was agreed that no modifications to the proposed provisions were necessary as a consequence of these comments. A reply will be made to the competent authorities of these countries.

Comments were made regarding the provisions foreseen for dried vine fruits. In addition, some minor, mainly linguistic, amendments were proposed and accepted.

The vote took place and a favourable opinion was expressed.

b) Opinion on a draft Commission Directive laying down the sampling methods and the methods of analysis for the official control of the levels of Ochratoxin A in foodstuffs (Ochratoxin A in foodstuffs)

The draft Commission Directive lays down the sampling method and the method of analysis for the official control of the levels of Ochratoxin A in cereals and dried vine fruit. The sampling regime is based on what is foreseen for the control of aflatoxin, but lower sample weights are required (10 kg samples instead of 30 kg). Concerning the methods of analysis, following a criteria-based approach, a set of performance characteristics are proposed.

The measures have been notified to the WTO for comments (G/SPS/EEC/105). No particular comments on the proposed sampling plan have been received.

Comments were made in particular with regard to the differences between the proposed sampling plan for Ochratoxin A and the sampling plan for aflatoxins as laid down in Commission Directive 98/53 of 16 July 1998. Some of the comments were accepted.

The vote took place and a favourable opinion was expressed.

2. Opinion on a draft Commission Regulation amending Commission Regulation (EC) N° 194/97 of 31 January 1997 setting maximum limits for certain contaminants - Aflatoxins in spices

The draft Commission Regulation proposes to establish a maximum limit of 5 µg/kg for aflatoxin B1 and of 10 µg/kg for total aflatoxin for some species of spices i.e. Capsicum spp. (dried fruit thereof, whole or ground, including chillies, chilli powder, cayenne and paprika), Piper spp. (fruits thereof, including white and black pepper), Myristica fragans (nutmeg), Zingiber officinale (ginger), Curcuma longa (turmeric).

The draft was already submitted to the Committee for a vote at a previous meeting, but it was necessary to amend the previous text by adding a provision in order to ensure that spices used as ingredients in foodstuffs were also covered by the legislation.

Some Member States were of the opinion that the proposed levels were too high.

The vote took place and a favourable opinion was expressed.

3. Exchange of views on future Community measures to be taken in order to reduce the presence of dioxins in foodstuffs

Given the fact that the internal reflections on the issue are not yet finalised within the Commission, discussion on this point was postponed to the next meeting of the Committee.

4. Matters arising from Directive 1999/2/EC of the European Parliament and Council on the approximation of the laws of Member States concerning foods and food ingredients treated with ionising radiation.

Directives 1999/2/EC and 1999/3/EC have been transposed into national law by all Member States, except BE, FR, IT and PT, in which the implementation process is running and expected to be completed within the next months.

The Commission informed the Committee that the list of competent authorities will be placed on the web site of DG SANCO and asked Member States to keep the Commission informed of changes.

a) Finalisation of the list of national authorisations for food and food ingredients which may be treated with ionising radiation for publication in the Official Journal

The Commission has examined all the current national authorisations which have been notified by Member States. Some of the authorisations are not in compliance with Directive 1999/2/EC since either the SCF did not express a favourable opinion or the authorised dose is higher than the maximum dose recommended by the SCF. Some Member States did not provide information which allows the examination whether their authorisations are in compliance with Annex I (1). The Commission asked them to submit this information by the end of February 2001. If no information becomes available, the Commission will have to assume that these authorisations are not in compliance with the Directive.

The Commission reminded Member States to withdraw authorisations which are not in compliance with the Directive and to inform the Commission thereof, as soon as possible. Member States are requested to keep the Commission informed of changes.

b) Finalisation of the list of approved irradiation facilities in Member States for food and food ingredients which may be treated with ionising radiation for publication in the Official Journal

The Commission has compiled a list of approved irradiation facilities which have been notified by Member States. The approval of facilities in BE, DE, DK and FR need a renewal in order to ensure compliance with Directive 1999/2/EC. Member States are requested to keep the Commission informed of changes.

5. Opinion on a draft Commission Directive amending Commission directive 96/77/EC laying down specific purity criteria on food additives other than colours and sweeteners

The Commission informed the Committee that E1201 and E1202 (polyvinylpyrrolidone and polyvinylpolypyrrolidone) were withdrawn from the proposal.

The draft Commission Directive amending Commission Directive 96/77/EC laying down specific purity criteria on food additives other than colours and sweeteners was adopted by unanimity.

6. Opinion on a draft Commission recommendation concerning a co-ordinated programme for the official control of foodstuffs for 2001

The Commission consulted the Committee on a draft Commission Recommendation regarding a co-ordinated programme for the official control of foodstuffs for 2001.

In this proposal, the Member States are invited to carry out inspections and controls including, where indicated, taking samples with the aim of :

- monitoring compliance with the Community labelling rules concerning the quantitative ingredients declaration (article 7 of Council Directive 2000/13/EC;

- assessing the bacteriological quality of smoked fish products.

Following the examination of the proposal, some small improvements will be introduced.

The proposed co-ordinated control programme for 2001 received the support of the Committee.

7. Opinion on a Commission Decision concerning a Draft regulation from the Dutch authorities relative to the labelling of poultry meat

In accordance with indent 4 of Article 19 of Directive 2000/13/EC, the Standing Committee was requested to give its opinion on a draft Commission Decision which called on the Netherlands not to adopt the draft regulation, unless substantial changes were made by applying it to all poultry meat, with certain exceptions, and changing the wording of the warning to consumers.

Following a tour de table, the Netherlands delegation agreed to the amendments requested in the Draft Decision.

The Standing Committee expressed a favourable opinion on the draft decision which had been submitted.

8. Exchange of views on a draft IDA financial feasability study for the European Food Authority which will necessitate the cooperation of the Member State food safety authorities.

The European Food Authority will need adequate information and communication technology to support its operations. The EC programme IDA (Interchange of Data between Administrations) funds activities to develop sectorial networks and data exchanges. The CPDA was addressed to assist during the feasibility study in the following fields :

Nominate contacts points (Experts in dossier authorisations / IT) in the National Ministries /Administrations which cover the same field as the EFA and would/ could be future and existing contact points for Commission Services and the EFA.

The CPDA or one of its working groups is asked to validate the outcome of the feasibility study.

9. Miscellaneous

9.1. Opinion on a Draft Commission Directive repealing Directive 79/1066/EEC laying down Community methods of analysis for testing coffee extracts and chicory extracts

The Commission representative presented the Proposal. He recalled that it had been modified following comments at the previous meeting of the Committee ; the modification simply consisted in changing the order of recitals (2) and (3) to better express the logic which lead to the revocation of Directive 79/1066/EEC.

This item will be voted upon formally at the next meeting of the Committee.

9.2. Information of the Committee on a request for an interpretation of Directive 2000/36/EC (cocoa based products and chocolate products)

The Commission representative informed the Committee the Dutch authorities had transmitted to the Commission services a request for an interpretation of Directive 2000/36/EC (cocoa based products and chocolate products) on two points :

- the date of entry into force of the Directive and

- the method of calculating of the percentage of cocoa which had to be mentioned on the label.

A discussion on this topic will be held at a next meeting of the Committee.

9.3. Enlargement of the Community

The Commission Services presented to the Member of the Standing Committee the activities related to enlargement pursued by the Health and Consumer Directorate General in the field of foodstuffs legislation falling under Chapter 1 ("Free movement

of goods"). This legislation which actually corresponds to the field of responsibility of the Standing Committee relates to food safety in general while veterinary legislation, animal nutrition and phytosanitary legislation has been classified under Chapter 7 ("Agriculture"). Each CC is declaring that it has the capacity of taking over and implementing all the "acquis" without any derogation.

The Commission Services briefly described how the negotiations are conducted. The decision on when the chapters are closed is based on the commitments made by the Candidate Countries regarding their plans for transposing and implementing the "acquis ", establishment of administrative structures and their schedule to complete this work. The Commission services ensured that in the documents closing Chapter 1, the importance of food safety and early implementation is underlined. Any chapter can however be re-opened, but only in the case of important problems. This shows how important it will be for the Commission (in co-ordination with the MS) to monitor the respect of all the undertakings and not to undermine the importance of this Chapter (as compared to Chapter 7) as it also covers sensitive issues such as hygiene and control, GMO's etc.

In this respect, Members of the Standing Committee were invited to contact the national negotiators on enlargement to gather their views as to the attention given to Chapter 1 legislation and obtain their judgement as to how this is addressed at MS level. . Comments should be given at the next Standing Committee meeting.

Member States were also informed about the planned workshops supported by Taiex (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office). The following workshops are planned in Brussels:

control and hygiene

Contact materials/

Contaminants

additives / processing aids / flavourings

labelling (including GM labelling) and mineral waters

dietetic food/special foods/baby food/novel food

22-23/03/2001

July 2001

to be determined

05-06/06/2001

25-26/06/2001

Commission experts as well as national experts from Member States will be invited to present Community legislation and examine it with the Candidate Countries. In this context, Members of the Committee were invited to indicate names of national experts in these areas upon case by case request of the Health and Consumer Directorate General (Unit D 4 Food Law and Biotechnology)

Member States will be up-dated on enlargement activities at the next Standing Committee meeting.

9.4. Quick frozen foods - Directive 92/1/EEC

The Commission reminded the members of the Committee of the questions which had been posed at the request of the UK at the meeting of 15 December 2000:

- Whether to withdraw the derogation for railways;

- Whether it would be appropriate to make the CEN Standards mandatory by means of the Directive, and;

- Whether to introduce the CEN Standard on temperature recorders now or to await until the CEN Standard on thermometers is agreed.

Member States were invited to answer before 28 February 2001.

9.5. Inspection programme of the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) for the year 2001

The FVO Inspection programme for 2001 was distributed for information.

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- Regulatory Committees - Standing Committee on Foodstuffs

FOOD SAFETY | PUBLIC HEALTH | CONSUMER PROTECTION | DIRECTORATE GENERAL "HEALTH & CONSUMER PROTECTION"

 
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