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Agency seeks views on food contaminant regulations

Health Food - illustrating an item from the UK Food Standards Agency.

The Food Standards Agency has extended the length of its consultation on the draft Contaminants in Food Regulations by a further eight weeks to take into account the new provisions of a Commission Regulation coming into force on 2 March 2009 and applying from 1 July 2009.

The draft Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2009 propose to make provisions for the enforcement authorities in England to enforce the requirements of new Commission Regulations amending Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006, which sets maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs. In particular, Commission Regulation (EC) No, 565/2008 establishes a maximum level for dioxins and PCBs in fish liver. The proposals for England also provide for the enforcement of Commission Regulation (EC) No. 629/2008, setting maximum levels for certain other contaminants in foodstuffs.

Similar regulations proposed for Scotland and Northern Ireland are also being consulted on via the links below. The consultation length for each of these will be extended as the updated draft regulations become available.


Coccidiostats and histomonostats are veterinary medicines authorised for use in animal feeds. The Veterinary Medicines Direct (VMD) normally lead on any regulatory issues, such as maximum residue limits (MRLs) in formulated feeds and resulting limits in food. Because the European Commission’s concern about the possible carry-over into batches of feed that are not intentionally formulated with coccidiostats or histomonostats they have felt it necessary to introduce a Directive limiting the permissible amount of coccidiostat carry-over into feed and, at the same time, a Regulation limiting the resulting residue in food of non-target animals.

The unavoidable carry-over in non-target feed of active substances contained in authorised coccidiostats and histomonostats are considered as undesirable substances in animal feed within the meaning of Directive 2002/32/EC and their presence should not endanger animal health, human health or the environment. Therefore, maximum levels for these substances in animal feed are established by a Commission Directive amending Annex I to Directive 2002/32/EC.

Council Regulation (EEC) No. 315/93 lays down Community procedures for contaminants in food and it has therefore been amended to establish a provision for food of animal origin contaminated by the non-target feed concerned. The provisions of Regulation (EC) No. 124/2009 are made under Council Regulation (EEC) No. 315/93, which lays down the Community procedures for contaminants in food. These contaminants are defined as:

* 'any substance not intentionally added to food which is present in such food as a result of its production and processing, preparation and treatment etc (including operations carried out in crop husbandry, animal husbandry and veterinary medicine), manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment, packing, packaging, transport or holding of such food, or as a result of environmental contamination. Extraneous matter, such as, for example, insects, fragments, animal hair, etc, is not covered by this definition.


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