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Methods of sampling and analysis for the control of levels of certain elements in foodstuffs

Methods of sampling and analysis for the control of levels of certain elements in foodstuffs

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EU) 2017/644 laying down methods of sampling and analysis for the control of levels of dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in certain foodstuffs

Regulation (EU) 2015/705 laying down methods of sampling and performance criteria for the methods of analysis for the official control of the levels of erucic acid in foodstuffs

Regulation (EC) No 333/2007 laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the control of the levels of trace elements and processing contaminants in foodstuffs

Regulation (EC) No 401/2006 laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of the levels of mycotoxins in foodstuffs

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATIONS?

They set out methods of sampling and analysis to check on the levels of contaminants in food.

KEY POINTS

Contaminants are substances present in food as a result of the various stages of its production, packaging, transport and storage, or from the environment. Since contamination generally has a negative impact on the quality of food and implies a risk to human health, the EU has taken measures to minimise contaminants in food. Maximum levels are set for the food contaminants of greatest concern to EU consumers.

The 4 regulations refer to Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls (Article 11(4) on methods of sampling and analysis). This regulation has since been repealed and replaced by Regulation (EU) 2017/625 (see summary), Article 34 of which deals with sampling and analysis methods.

Regulation (EU) 2017/644

Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds are persistent environmental pollutants, mostly minor by-products of burning or industrial processes. PCBs were used when making electrical equipment, inks, adhesives, flame-retardants, and paints. They are very persistent and very soluble in fat, which explains why PCBs are still present and can build up in animal fat and along the food chain.

  • Section 5 of the annex to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 sets out the maximum allowable levels (see summary);
  • Sampling methods are described in Annex II;
  • Sample preparation and analysis is carried out using the methods and applying the performance criteria in Annexes III and IV;
  • Regulation (EU) No 589/2014 is repealed and any reference to it is directed to this regulation.

Regulation (EU) 2015/705

Erucic acid is a normal constituent of certain seed oils which has been shown to have detrimental effects on health if consumed in large quantities.

  • Section 8 of the annex to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 sets out the maximum allowable levels;
  • Sampling, and analysis are carried out using methods and applying the performance criteria described in the annex;
  • Directive 80/891/EEC is repealed and any reference to it is directed to this regulation.

Regulation (EC) No 333/2007

Lead, cadmium, mercury, perchlorate, tin, 3-MCPD, 3-MCPD fatty acid esters, glycidyl fatty acid esters, acrylamide benzo(a)pyrene and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are present in food as the consequence of environmental contamination, migration from packaging and can also enter the food chain in processing, and bio-accumulate in human tissue.

Lead, cadmium, mercury and perchlorate are mainly present in food as the consequence of environmental contamination and industrial processes. Tin is present in canned foods by migration of tin from the can in the food.

3-MCPD fatty acid esters and glycidyl fatty acid esters is found in refined vegetable oils, and in food containing these oils, affecting the kidney and male fertility if safe quantities are exceeded.

Acrylamide is formed in carbohydrate-rich foods during baking, roasting, grilling, frying and broiling. Benzo(a)pyrene and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons result from incomplete combustion of organic matter and is found in many foods, especially grilled meats.

Regulation (EC) No 401/2006

Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by fungi potentially contaminating food and feed at all stages of the food supply chain. Certain mycotoxins can have carcinogenic (liver and kidney) effects.

  • Section 2 of the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 sets out maximum allowable levels of certain mycotoxins in certain foodstuffs;
  • Sampling methods are described in Annex I;
  • Sample preparation and analysis is carried out using the methods and applying the performance criteria in Annexes III and IV;
  • Directives 98/53/EC, 2002/26/EC, 2003/78/EC and 2005/38/EC are repealed and any references to them are directed to this regulation.

FROM WHEN DO THE REGULATIONS APPLY?

  • Regulation (EU) 2017/644 (dioxins and PCBs) has applied since 26 April 2017
  • Regulation (EU) 2015/705 (erucic acid) has applied since 21 May 2015
  • Regulation (EC) No 333/2007 (trace elements and processing contaminants) has applied since 1 June 2007
  • Regulation (EC) No 401/2006 (mycotoxins) has applied since 1 July 2006

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/644 of 5 April 2017 laying down methods of sampling and analysis for the control of levels of dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in certain foodstuffs and repealing Regulation (EU) No 589/2014 (OJ L 92, 6.4.2017, pp. 9-34)

Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/705 of 30 April 2015 laying down methods of sampling and performance criteria for the methods of analysis for the official control of the levels of erucic acid in foodstuffs and repealing Commission Directive 80/891/EEC (OJ L 113, 1.5.2015, pp. 29-37)

Commission Regulation (EC) No 333/2007 of 28 March 2007 laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the control of the levels of trace elements and processing contaminants in foodstuffs (OJ L 88, 29.3.2007, pp. 29-38)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 333/2007 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 401/2006 of 23 February 2006 laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of the levels of mycotoxins in foodstuffs (OJ L 70, 9.3.2006, pp. 12-34)

See consolidated version.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2093 of 29 November 2019 amending Regulation (EC) No 333/2007 as regards the analysis of 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) fatty acid esters, glycidyl fatty acid esters, perchlorate and acrylamide (OJ L 317, 9.12.2019, pp. 96-101)

Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products, amending Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, (EC) No 396/2005, (EC) No 1069/2009, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) No 1151/2012, (EU) No 652/2014, (EU) 2016/429 and (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 1/2005 and (EC) No 1099/2009 and Council Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC and 2008/120/EC, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 854/2004 and (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC and 97/78/EC and Council Decision 92/438/EEC (Official Controls Regulation) (OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, pp. 1-142)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (OJ L 364, 20.12.2006, pp. 5-24)

See consolidated version.

last update 08.05.2020

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