12 January - 20 June 2016

Legislation headlines

  • FSAI publish guide to assist food business with advertising and selling online
  • EU-wide definition of endocrine disruptors approved by member states
  • Member States voted in favour of European Commission's proposal to reduce the presence of acrylamide in food
  • Plans for future food regulation – FSA
  • Amendment regarding the wine grape varieties and their synonyms that may appear on wine labels to include ‘Teran’ wine grape variety
  • Entering a name in the register of protected designations of origin (Skalický rubín (PDO))
  • Withdrawal of groundnuts (peanuts) from the United States of America from the list of approved pre-export checks as regards aflatoxins
  • The use of potassium carbonate (E 501) on peeled, cut and shredded fruit and vegetables
  • The use of silicon dioxide (E 551) in potassium nitrate (E 252)
  • Authorising synthetic L-ergothioneine (‘L-ergothioneine’) as a novel food ingredient
  • Scientific opinions

FSAI publish guide to assist food business with advertising and selling online
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) have published a new guide to assist food businesses comply with their legislative requirements in order to safeguard consumer health and rights at all times. In a press release the FSAI state: “it is the first guide that specifies what a business must do to comply with the law to ensure that consumers get the same information online, before making a purchase, as they would if they bought the product in a store. The legislation around labelling, advertising, health claims, nutrition claims and allergen declarations apply to foods sold online, as well as over the counter.”

EU-wide definition of endocrine disruptors approved by member states
Member states have approved an EU-wide definition of endocrine disruptors in the field of plant protection products.  Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety is quoted in a press release as saying: "Today's vote represents our determination to devise a real EU policy on endocrine disruptors. After months of discussion we are advancing in the direction of the first regulatory system in the world with legally binding criteria to define what an endocrine disruptor is. This is a great success. Once implemented, the text will ensure that any active substance used in pesticides which is identified as an endocrine disruptor for people or animals can be assessed and withdrawn from the market. We now count on the support of the European Parliament and the Council, involved in the decision making process, for a smooth adoption and entry into force of the criteria."

Member States voted in favour of European Commission's proposal to reduce the presence of acrylamide in food
Once implemented, the new regulation will require that food business operators (FBOs) apply mandatory measures to reduce the presence of acrylamide, proportionate to the size and nature of their establishment. Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, welcomed the vote: ''Today we took an important step in protecting the health and well-being of citizens. The new regulation will not only help to reduce the presence of this carcinogenic substance but also will help raise awareness on how to avoid the exposure to it that oftentimes comes from home-cooking.''  The text agreed will now be sent to the Council and the European Parliament. The two institutions will have three months to examine it before final adoption by the Commission. The entry into force could be foreseen spring 2018. The Commission is also planning to initiate discussions on additional measures, such as setting maximum levels of acrylamide in certain foods without delay once this Regulation is adopted.

RSSL can help manufacturers reduce acrylamide by offering an analysis service that can determine where and when acrylamide is generated in the production process. By carrying out this survey routinely (many clients opt for an annual assessment), RSSL can help manufacturers understand which parts of the process could be adjusted to reduce acrylamide formation. RSSL's service has UKAS accreditation for biscuits, but the same methods are equally applicable to all affected foods. The sample preparation is often complex, and the LC-MS techniques used in detection/quantification are highly sophisticated and capable of detecting acrylamide at levels down to 50ng/g. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Plans for future food regulation – FSA
Heather Hancock, FSA Chairman has published the department's plans to change food regulation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The document called, ‘Regulating Our Future – Why food regulation needs to change and how we are going to do it’, sets out proposals to transform the way food businesses are regulated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Amendment regarding the wine grape varieties and their synonyms that may appear on wine labels to include Teran wine grape variety
Croatia requested that its national list of recognised wine grape varieties be added to the list of wine grape varieties that include a geographical indication and may appear on wine labels.  Croatia has limited its request to use the name of the ‘Teran’ wine grape variety to wines covered by the Protected Designation of Origin ‘Hrvatska Istra’ (PDO-HR-A1652). Despite the geographical limitation of the requested authorisation and the Commission's sustained efforts, it has not been possible to reach a compromise solution between Croatia and Slovenia.  In the absence of a negotiated solution, despite the Commission's efforts to reconcile the positions of Croatia and Slovenia, and following a verification of the information available to the Commission on existing labelling practices concerning the ‘Teran’ wine grape variety, the name of that variety should be entered in Part A of Annex XV to Regulation (EC) No 607/2009 in connection with the Protected Designation of Origin ‘Hrvatska Istra’.

Entering a name in the register of protected designations of origin (Skalický rubín (PDO))
Slovakia has sent an application for protection of the name ‘Skalický rubín’ in accordance with Section 2 of Chapter I of Title II of Part II of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013.  Skalický rubín is a red wine produced exclusively from the complete or partial alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes of the Frankovka modrá, Svätovavrinecké and Modrý Portugal varieties only. This wine must be produced using only grapes grown on the precisely defined territory of the Vintoperk hill; the wine derives its character from the hill's characteristic soil composition. The wine is characterised by its full flavour, a high tannin content and by its colour, which provides the wine with its historic name.

Withdrawal of groundnuts (peanuts) from the United States of America from the list of approved pre-export checks as regards aflatoxins
An approval of pre-export checks performed by the United States of America (US) authorities on aflatoxins in groundnuts was granted by the EU in 2008.  An increase of non-compliance as regards the presence of aflatoxins in groundnuts from the US has been observed since mid-2016. The US authorities were informed thereof and commitments were made to remediate the situation. However it can be observed that the situation has not been improved.  It can therefore be concluded that the conditions leading to the approval of the pre-export controls are no longer fulfilled and therefore it is appropriate to remove groundnuts (peanuts) from the US from the list of approved pre-export checks.

The use of potassium carbonate (E 501) on peeled, cut and shredded fruit and vegetables
On October 2015, an application for authorisation of the use of potassium carbonate (E 501) on peeled, cut and shredded fruit and vegetables was submitted.  During preparation of fresh cut fruit and vegetables, enzymatic activities may lead to a loss in quality of the products, such as browning and structural losses and to food waste. In order to avoid browning, ascorbic acid (E 300) can be used. However, ascorbic acid tends to break down cell tissue, leading to softening and discoloration of fruit and vegetables after a few days. The use of potassium carbonate (E 501) allows for a more efficient protection against browning as it functions as a stabilizer and acidity regulator and minimizes the damage to tissue caused by ascorbic acid.  The Scientific Committee for Food established a group ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) level of ‘not specified’ for carbonates, implying that it does not represent a hazard to health when used at the levels necessary to achieve the desired technological effect. Since authorisation of use of potassium carbonate (E 501) as stabilizer and acidity regulator on peeled, cut and shredded fruit and vegetables constitutes an update of that list which is not liable to have an effect on human health, it is not necessary to seek the opinion of the Authority.  Therefore the use of potassium carbonate (E 501) on peeled, cut and shredded fruit and vegetables has been approved.

The use of silicon dioxide (E 551) in potassium nitrate (E 252)
On 7 July 2016, an application for authorisation of the use of silicon dioxide (E 551) as an anti-caking agent added to potassium nitrate (E 252) was submitted.  The Scientific Committee for Food established a group ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) level of ‘not specified’ for silicon dioxide (E 551) and certain silicates (i.e. sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium silicates) when used as anticaking agents (3). That implies that silicon dioxide (E 551) does not represent a hazard to health when used at the levels necessary to achieve the desired technological effect. The additional exposure of the consumer to silicon dioxide (E 551) when used as an anticaking agent in potassium nitrate (E 252) would remain limited. Therefore it is appropriate to authorise the use of silicon dioxide (E 551) as an anti-caking agent in potassium nitrate (E 252).

Authorising synthetic L-ergothioneine (‘L-ergothioneine’) as a novel food ingredient
The company Tetrahedron made a request to the competent authorities of France to place synthetic L-ergothioneine (‘L-ergothioneine’) on the Union market as a novel food ingredient.  The application excluded from the use infants, young children, pregnant and lactating women. EFSA in its ‘Scientific Opinion on the safety of L-ergothioneine as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 258/97’ (2) concluded that L-ergothioneine is safe for the proposed uses and use levels. The use of L-ergothioneine should therefore be authorised.

Scientific opinions

Safety of synthetic N-acetyl-d-neuraminic acid as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 258/97

Safety of lactic acid and calcium lactate when used as technological additives for all animal species

Safety and efficacy of l-threonine produced by fermentation with Escherichia coli CGMCC 11473 for all animal species

Assessment of listing and categorisation of animal diseases within the framework of the Animal Health Law (Regulation (EU) No 2016/429): porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS)

Safety and efficacy of natural mixture of illite, montmorillonite and kaolinite for all animal species

Lactobacillus fermentum CECT 5716 and a reduction of the Staphylococcus load in breast milk which reduces the risk of infectious mastitis: evaluation of a health claim pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

Vibigaba (germinated brown rice) and reduction of body weight in the context of an energy-restricted diet: evaluation of a health claim pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

Vibigaba (germinated brown rice) and maintenance of long-term normal blood glucose concentration: evaluation of a health claim pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

Vibigaba (germinated brown rice) and maintenance of normal blood pressure: evaluation of a health claim pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

Sugar-free hard confectionery with at least 90% erythritol and reduction of dental plaque which reduces the risk of dental caries: evaluation of a health claim pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

Safety and efficacy of HOSTAZYM® X (endo-1,4-β-xylanase) as a feed additive for carps

Pest categorisation of Entoleuca mammata

Assessment of listing and categorisation of animal diseases within the framework of the Animal Health Law (Regulation (EU) No 2016/429): low pathogenic avian influenza

Pest categorisation of Pseudocercospora angolensis

Safety and efficacy of Levucell® SC (Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077) as a feed additive for dairy cows, cattle for fattening, minor ruminant species and camelids

Assessment of listing and categorisation of animal diseases within the framework of the Animal Health Law (Regulation (EU) No 2016/429): Ebola virus disease

Pest categorisation of Cadang-Cadang viroid

Safety assessment of the substance dimethyl carbonate for use in food contact materials

Re-evaluation of xanthan gum (E 415) as a food additive

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