Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health endorses Commission's proposal on dioxin contamination

The European Commission has put forward four measures in order to prevent dioxin contamination in the food chain. These measures will help to avoid food recalls from the market and financial costs to the consumers and industries due to food crises. They are expected to be implemented by mid 2012.

Further to the E-Coli outbreak crisis occurred in Germany, the European Commission decided to take action an introduce measures to tackle dioxin contaminations which pose a risk for consumer safety and result in huge direct and indirect costs for the economy and society in general. The Commission believes that the measures will allow regulators to make a better control over the feed chain and to better coordinata actions at EU level.

The measures proposed by the Commission and now adopted by the Member States at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (ScoFCAH), include that feed businesses processing crude vegetable oils, manufacturing products derived from oils of vegetable origin and blending fats, will have to be approved, and not only registered, by the competent authority.

Furthermore, fats intended for feed and food will now be strictly segregated during their production and transport from fats intended for technical use for example in the chemical industry, and labelling of the products will have to be explicitly mention their intended use. Measures are to be taken for all laboratories to be obliged obliged to directly notify the competent authorities of any excessive findings of dioxin.

These measures also introduce an EU harmonised plan with mandatory minimum testing for dioxin depending on the risk inherent to the products. The tests will focus on the risky products at the moment they enter the feed chain, in order to facilitate the detection of non-compliant cases and the enforcement of feed law.

The adoption of these measures was preceded by intense negotiations with the concerned industry, including farmers and the competent authorities in the Member States, and although the measures will cause some costs for the industry, the actions are targeted and annual costs will amount to just a small percentage of the costs of one dioxin incident. The draft Regulation which has received a positive opinion from Member States within SCoFCAH by qualified majority, is expected to enter into force in mid 2012.