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Edible oils and fats: level of erucic acid

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Edible oils and fats: level of erucic acid

The level of erucic acid in edible oils and fats must not exceed 5%. The Directive has established this maximum level in order to protect consumers from the possible toxic effects of ingesting the acid.

ACT

Council Directive 76/621/EEC of 20 July 1976 relating to the fixing of the maximum level of erucic acid in oils and fats intended as such for human consumption and in foodstuffs containing added oils or fats [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

The aim of the Directive is to protect consumers from the possible negative effects of erucic acid in oils and fats. In order to achieve this, it fixes the maximum level of the substance which oils and fats intended for human consumption may contain.

Scope

This Directive covers:

  • oils, fats and blends intended for human consumption;
  • foodstuffs with a fat content of 5% or more.

Maximum level of erucic acid

The level of erucic acid contained in the products concerned must not exceed 5% of the total level of fatty acids in the fat component.

The preventive and protective character of these rules is reinforced by a safeguard clause. Under this clause, a Member State may suspend application of these provisions if new scientific findings conclude that the maximum level of erucic acid established in this Directive represents a danger to human health. In this case, the Member State must inform the Commission and the other Member States accordingly. The Commission will refer the matter to the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health and, in accordance with the normal procedure, submit to it a proposal for measures to be taken to amend the Directive.

The sampling and analysis methods for determining the erucic acid level in fats and foodstuffs to which they have been added are also agreed in accordance with the procedure of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

References

Act

Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 76/621/EEC

28.7.1976

1.1.1977

OJ L 202 of 28.7.1976

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 807/2003

5.6.2003

-

OJ L 122 of 16.5.2003

RELATED ACTS

Directive 80/891/EEC - Official Journal L 254, 27.9.1980 Commission Directive of 25 July 1980 relating to the Community method of analysis for determining the erucic acid content of oils and fats intended to be used as such for human consumption and of foodstuffs containing added oils or fats.

This Directive lays down the Community method of analysis for determining the erucic acid content of the oils and fats referred to in Directive 76/621/EEC.

Last updated: 09.08.2007

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