12 January - 20 June 2016

Legislation headlines

  • Use of calcium propionate (E 282) as a preservative for extension of the shelf-life of tortillas
  • Non-organic ingredients: get permission to use them in organic food products
  • Amending Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 on organic production and labelling of organic products
  • Exports of UK gin, beer and wine to USA increase – Defra
  • £330 million of UK cheese exports headed to the EU market in 2015
  • Denmark considering proposals to tax red meat to help fight climate change
  • Defra update “Genetically Modified Organisms: applications and consents” list
  • Authorising an extension of use of lipid extract from Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba) as a novel food ingredient
  • Concerning a coordinated multiannual control programme to ensure compliance with maximum residue levels of pesticides and to assess the consumer exposure
  • Removal of certain flavouring substances from union list
  • Method of analysis for determination of volatile acidity and total sugar in certain spirit drinks
  • Application for entry to register of protected geographical indication ‘Pão de Ló de Ovar’ (PGI)
  • Application for entry to register of protected designated origin ‘Oriel Sea Salt’ (PDO)
  • Approving non-minor amendments to the specification for a name entered in the register of protected geographical indications (Saucisson de l'Ardèche (PGI))
  • Entering a name in the register of protected geographical indications (Patata del Fucino (PGI))
  • Entering a name in the register of traditional specialities guaranteed (Lietuviškas skilandis (TSG))
  • Entering a name in the register of protected geographical indications (Levický slad (PGI))
  • 85% of all UK shellfish exports headed for European shores in 2015
  • Scientific opinions

Use of calcium propionate (E 282) as a preservative for extension of the shelf-life of tortillas
On 14 July 2015, an application was submitted for an extension of use of calcium propionate (E 282) as a preservative for extension of the shelf-life of tortillas.  The use of propionic acid — propionates is needed for the extension of the shelf-life of tortillas, since this product gets spoiled very quickly due to high moisture content and composition that is susceptible for microbial growth. Propionic acid — propionates are widely used to prevent the growth of moulds in leavened bakery products, due to their minimal effect on yeast and on the odour or taste of the final product.  The EFSA concluded that there would not be a safety concern from the maximum concentrations of those substances at their currently authorised uses and use levels as food additives.  Therefore, Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 should be amended accordingly

Non-organic ingredients: get permission to use them in organic food products
Defra have produced guidance and an application form to allow companies to apply for permission to include non-organic ingredients in an organic food product. Defra note that “You can use a maximum of 5% of EU-approved non-organic ingredients     in an organic food product. For example, for a product containing grain, fruit, oil, sugar and water, plus a permitted processing aid, 2% of non-organic berries might be permitted.  In this example, you must calculate the organic grain, organic fruit, organic sugar and organic oil, and the non-organic berries. The whole should add up to 100%, with the non-organic berries being no more than 5% of that total. You can’t include water and processing aids or any non-agricultural ingredient such as salt in your calculations. However, you should list these non-agricultural ingredients in your application form.” 

Amending Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 on organic production and labelling of organic products
Amendments include:

  • As in Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 there are no detailed production rules for micro-algae used as food there is a need to clarify the situation and lay down detailed production rules for such products.  The production of micro-algae resembles that of seaweed, it is appropriate to clarify that the detailed production rules for seaweed should also apply to the production of micro-algae for further use as food.
  • Another amendment include the use of non-organic juveniles and of seed from non-organic bivalve shellfish hatcheries in organic production.  It was noted that after 31 December 2015, all juveniles and all shellfish seed used in organic production have to be organic, however as organic juveniles and organic shellfish seed are not available in sufficient quantities, that date should be postponed with 1 year. 
  • The Commission is to re-examine the use of certain oenological practices, processes and treatments before 1 August 2015 with a view to phase out or to further restrict those practices. EGTOP recommended to continue allowing their use in organic wine production due to the lack of viable alternatives at present. It also recommended reassessing those techniques after a certain period therefore, the deadline of 1 August 2015 should be extended with 3 years.
  • EGTOP concluded, inter alia, that the substances carbon dioxide, kieselgur (diatomaceous earth), fatty acids and potassium bicarbonate comply with the organic objectives and principles. Therefore, those substances should be included in Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 889/2008. In addition, in order to align the names of active substances with Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011, it is appropriate to change the name of fatty acid potassium salt (soft soap) into fatty acids.
  • The conditions for the use of the following additives should be amended following the recommendation of EGTOP.  sulphur dioxide, potassium metabisulphite, tocopherol-rich extract, lecithins, citric acid, sodium citrate, tartaric acid, glycerol, sodium carbonate, silicon dioxide gel or colloidal solution and sodium hydroxide. Lecithin derived from organic raw material is available on the market, but appropriate qualities of such lecithin are needed for most of the uses in the organic food processing industry. The appropriate qualities for the organic food production are currently not available in sufficient quantities. Taking account of the temporary lack of the different qualities of the organic lecithin needed for the organic production of food, it should be provided that during a transitional period of 3 years lecithin not derived from organic raw material may be used in the production of organic food.
  • Based on the recommendations from EGTOP regarding processing aids, acetic acid/vinegar, thiamin hydrochloride, diammonium phosphate, sodium carbonate and wood fibre should be authorised. As regards sodium carbonate, citric acid, sodium hydroxide, vegetable oils, bentonite, beeswax and carnauba wax, the specific conditions should be amended.
  • For processing aids used in yeast production, it should be required that potato starch and vegetables oils be used only if derived from organic production, given that those processing aids are now available in their organic form in sufficient quantity and quality.

Exports of UK gin, beer and wine to USA increase – Defra
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has announce at an event in Chicago that in 2015 more than 220 million pints of ale, including from Yorkshire’s Ilkley Brewery and Aberdeenshire’s Brew Dog, were shipped to the States in 2015 worth a record £164 million. This is up 35% since last year. Gin exports have also increased rising 9% to a record £159 million and English sparkling wine by 23%.  According to a press release US is the UK biggest gin market with over 300 million consumers, closely followed by Spain and Germany. (Defra)

£330 million of UK cheese exports headed to the EU market in 2015
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss is report that in 2015 £330 million of UK cheese exports went to the EU market, and export volumes have increased by 8 per cent since 2010.  France alone bought £59 million of British cheese, which is gaining a growing reputation across the continent for its quality and taste.  Demand for Wyke’s award-winning cheddar is growing rapidly in France, with sales up by 30 per cent last year. (Defra)

Denmark considering proposals to tax red meat to help fight climate change
According to the Independent, Denmark is considering proposals to introduce a tax on red meat, in a bid to fight the ethical problem of climate change. The Danish Council of Ethics proposal is being considered by the government after the council voted in favours of introducing a tax on beef, with a view to extend to all red meat in the future.  It is thought that this would help reduce the country’s meat consumption which in turn would benefit the environment.  The Independent states that the council also suggests the tax should apply to all foods at varying levels depending on climate impact.

Defra update “Genetically Modified Organisms: applications and consents” list
Defra have update their GMO applications and consents list. This list covers the UK and includes consents granted by ministers in the Devolved Administrations.  It controls the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  In this recent update, Rothamsted Research (16/R8/01) application has now been granted consent.  In a letter to Rothamsted Research it is noted that “Three single transformation events and one ‘stacked’ event (which combines two of these events) will be released (four GM plant ‘lines’ in total).”  

Authorising an extension of use of lipid extract from Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba) as a novel food ingredient
On 15 September 2014, the company Aker BioMarine Antarctic AS made a request to the authorities of Ireland for extension of uses of lipid extract from Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba) as a novel food ingredient. Lipid extract from Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba) as specified may be placed on the market in the Union as a novel food ingredient for food supplements as defined in Directive 2002/46/EC.  Maximum content of combined DHA and EPA is set at 3 g per day for general population and 450 mg per day for pregnant and lactating women

Concerning a coordinated multiannual control programme to ensure compliance with maximum residue levels of pesticides and to assess the consumer exposure
Thirty to forty foodstuffs constitute the major components of the diet in the Union. Since pesticide uses show significant changes over a period of 3 years, pesticides should be monitored in those foodstuffs over a series of 3-year cycles to allow consumer exposure and the application of Union legislation to be assessed. Member States shall, during the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, take and analyse samples for the pesticide/product combinations, as set out in Annex I.  The lot to be sampled shall be chosen randomly. The sampling procedure, including the number of units, shall comply with Directive 2002/63/EC. All samples, including those of foods intended for infants and young children, shall be analysed for the pesticides set out in Annex I in accordance with the residue definitions set out in Regulation (EC) No 396/2005. For foods intended for infants and young children, samples shall be evaluated on the products as proposed ready for consumption or as reconstituted according to the instructions of the manufacturers, taking into account the MRLs set out in Directives 2006/125/EC and 2006/141/EC. Where such foods can be consumed both as sold and as reconstituted, the results shall be reported on the non-reconstituted product as sold.  Member States shall submit the results of the analysis of samples tested in 2017, 2018 and 2019 by 31 August 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively. Those results shall be submitted in accordance with the Standard Sample Description (SSD). Where the residue definition of a pesticide includes more than one compound (active substance, metabolite and/or breakdown or reaction product), Member States shall report the analysis results in accordance with the full residue definition. In addition, the results of all analytes that are part of the residue definition shall be submitted separately, as far as they are measured individually.  The number of samples of each product, including foods for infants and young children and products originating from organic farming shall be as set out in Annex II.

Removal of certain flavouring substances from union list
Additional scientific data was requested on four substances belonging to chemical subgroup 2.2 of FGE.19: 2,6,6-trimethyl-1-cyclohexen-1-carboxaldehyde (FL No 05.121), myrtenyl formate (FL No 09.272), myrtenyl-2-methylbutyrate (FL No 09.899), and myrtenyl-3-methylbutyrate (FL No 09.900). This chemical group includes also the substance p-mentha-1,8-dien-7-al (FL No 05.117) which was used as representative substance for the group and for which the toxicity data were submitted. The EFSA has evaluated the submitted data and concluded in its scientific opinion of 24 June 2015 that the substance p-mentha-1,8-dien-7-al (FL No 05.117) is genotoxic in vivo and therefore its use as a flavouring substance raises a safety concern. That substance has already been removed from the Union list by Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/1760.  In that opinion, the Authority also concluded that since p-mentha-1,8-dien-7-al (FL No 05.117) is representative for the substances in this group, there is a potential safety concern for such substances. Therefore, 2,6,6-trimethyl-1-cyclohexen-1-carboxaldehyde (FL No 05.121), myrtenyl formate (FL No 09.272), myrtenyl-2-methylbutyrate (FL No 09.899), and myrtenyl-3-methylbutyrate (FL No 09.900) should be removed from the Union list.

Method of analysis for determination of volatile acidity and total sugar in certain spirit drinks
Commission Regulation (EC) No 2870/2000 lists and describes the reference methods for the analysis of spirit drinks. However, some of the methods listed in the Annex to that Regulation, among which, the methods for the determination of volatile acidity and total sugars in spirit drinks, are not yet described. The methods for the determination of volatile acidity and total sugars in certain spirit drinks have been subjected to two international validation studies that were conducted in accordance with internationally agreed procedures and their method performance parameters have been found to be acceptable.  Regulation (EC) No 2870/2000 should therefore be amended accordingly.

Application for entry to register of protected geographical indication ‘Pão de Ló de Ovar’ (PGI)
Portugal have applied for ‘Pão de Ló de Ovar’ to enter the register of protected geographical indication.  ‘Pão de Ló de Ovar’ is a bakery product made from eggs (mainly yolks), sugar and flour.  It comes in a mould lined with white paper, is shaped like a ‘country loaf’ and consists of light, creamy, soft, yellow cake known as ló, with a fine, slightly moist, golden brown crust and a moist part inside known as the pito. It has a number of physical, chemical and organoleptic characteristics.

Application for entry to register of protected designated origin ‘Oriel Sea Salt’ (PDO)
Ireland have applied for ‘Oriel Sea Salt’ to enter the register of protected designated origin.  ‘Oriel Sea Salt’ is the name given to sea salt harvested from the bay of Port Oriel, Clogherhead, Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland. It is a fine-grain sea salt, crystal white, and additive free.

Approving non-minor amendments to the specification for a name entered in the register of protected geographical indications (Saucisson de l'Ardèche (PGI))
The Commission has examined France's application for the approval of amendments to the specification for the protected geographical indication ‘Saucisson de l'Ardèche’, registered under Commission Regulation (EU) No 719/2011.  Since the amendments in question are not minor the Commission published the amendment application in the Official Journal of the European Union.  As no statement of opposition has been received by the Commission, the amendments to the specification are approved.

Entering a name in the register of protected geographical indications (Patata del Fucino (PGI))
Italy's application to register the name ‘Patata del Fucino’ was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Entering a name in the register of traditional specialities guaranteed (Lietuviškas skilandis (TSG))
Lithuania submitted the name ‘Lietuviškas skilandis’ in view of enabling it to be registered in the register of traditional specialities guaranteed.  The name ‘Skilandis’ had previously been registered as traditional speciality guaranteed. Following the national opposition procedure the name ‘Skilandis’ was complemented by the term ‘Lietuviškas’ that identifies its traditional and specific character. The submission of the name ‘Lietuviškas skilandis’ was examined by the Commission and subsequently published in the Official Journal of the European Union. As no statement of opposition under Article 51 of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 has been received by the Commission, the name ‘Lietuviškas skilandis’ should therefore be entered in the register

Entering a name in the register of protected geographical indications (Levický slad (PGI))
Slovakia's application to register the name ‘Levický slad’ was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

85% of all UK shellfish exports headed for European shores in 2015
Defra has reported the Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss as saying that in 2015 85% of all UK shellfish exports worth £360 million headed for European shores. Since 2012, UK scallop exports to France have increased by almost 18% to the highest level recorded. Exports of all UK fish and fish products to the EU were reported to be worth over £900 million in 2015, almost 70% of UK total exports for the sector. In total, 60% of UK food and drink exports go to the EU, worth over £11billion.

Scientific opinions

Cyanogenic glycosides in apricot kernels

MCPD and glycidyl esters in food

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry