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Plant toxins and mycotoxins

Following the conclusions of EFSA opinions, the Standing Committee agreed on recommendations for monitoring of the following plant toxins and mycotoxins (in addition to published Commission Recommendations): tropane alkaloids, sterigmatocystin, ergot alkaloids, phomopsins, citrinin, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, Alternaria toxins. These agreed monitoring recommendations are compiled in the following document.pdf(243 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 


Plant toxins


Metals and metalloids


For the heavy metals cadmium, lead and mercury, maximum levels in certain foods have been established by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006.

Provisions for methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of lead, cadmium, mercury, inorganic tin, 3-MCPD and benzo(a)pyrene in foodstuffs are laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 333/2007.

Scientific Opinions and Reports

Other documents


List of Metals and metalloids:

Processing contaminants

Dioxins & PCBs


In the second week of September 2008, the Commission was made aware that high levels of melamine were found in infant milk and other milk products in China. Melamine is a chemical intermediate used in the manufacture of resins and plastics. Melamine, which is high in nitrogen, has been fraudulently added to infant milk and milk to give the appearance of increased protein levels.

The high levels of melamine in infant milk resulted in China in very severe health effects in infants and young children. At least four children have died in China from severe kidney failure due to the melamine added to milk powder, and more than 50.000 infants and young children are currently affected by kidney problems.

To assess the risks related to the presence of melamine in composite products containing milk and milk products, such as chocolate, biscuits etc, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a scientific statement.

On 26 September 2008, the Commission adopted interim measures imposing special conditions governing the import of products containing milk or milk products originating in or consigned from China (Commission Decision 2008/757/EC).

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health expressed a favourable opinion on a Decision confirming and amending the interim protection measures and the Commission adopted this Decision on 14 October 2008 (Commission Decision 2008/798/EC, replacing Decision 2008/757/EC). This Decision was later on amended on 9 December 2008 to extend the scope of the measures to ammonium carbonate and to feed and food containing soya and soya products from China.

Given the significant decrease of Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) notifications since January 2009 and the guarantees provided by the Chinese authorities as regards the controls on melamine in products exported, the measures were reviewed and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1135/2009 was adopted replacing Commission Decision 2008/798/EC.

A detailed overview of the available methods, together with a description of the characteristics of the method, is provided on a website of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, specifically dedicated to the analysis of melamine and similar compounds in feed and food.