15 October 1998 13:17 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The European Commission has drafted tighter rules for pesticide residues in baby and infant food as it launches a European Food Safety campaign, CNI learned Thursday.
The EC's rules call for pesticide residues to be undetectable in children's food. A "stringent" limit of 0.01mg/kg has been set as the proposed maximum for pesticide residues as a "precaution". An EC spokesman said no scientific data are yet available on the maximum residue levels known to be harmless for infants.
About 40% of food products for children meet the proposed limit already, said the spokesman. Manufacturers have been given a deadline of 31 December 2001 to meet the proposed new standards. The spokesman said they "need time to adjust their supplies, manufacturing processes and, in particular, raw material sources".
The EC's Standing Committee on Foodstuffs (SCF) will assess the proposal to amend pesticide limits in Directive 96/4/EC, which covers infant formulae and follow-on formulae, and Directive 96/5/EC on processed cereal-based and baby foods for infants and young children. The spokesman said the EC wants rules that ensure there are "no detectable levels of pesticide residues." A value of zero is considered to be below the limit of detection because of inaccuracies in measurements, he added.
The draft rules would bring pesticide standards in all EC countries in line with those of Austria, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. The SCF revised its previous limit of 0.04mg/kg in late 1997 because it no longer believed that that level "gave no cause for concern and (it) recommended a more cautious approach." If the SCF does not approve the draft limit the EC will refer the proposal to the Council of Ministers, said the spokesman.
The EC's new food safety campaign was launched today (Thursday) and will target specific groups, such as children, as well as general consumers. It may be extended in 1999.
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