EC updates food safety import list

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, European union

Indian basmati rice is one of the products to be removed from an EU list of food imports subject to heightened scrutiny while some herbs and spices from Thailand have been added, said Brussels as it updated the register today.

The European Union introduced new measures at the start of this year to step up border controls on a range of foods of non-animal origin in a bid to boost food safety in the region. The measures, laid out in Regulation (EC) No. 669/2009, provide for the first time a set of common rules for official controls on foods.

Following the first quarterly review of the list, bananas from the Dominican Republic and basmati rice from India will be de-listed from Annex 1 of the register. But the European Commission said that after “careful evaluation”​ herbs and spices from Thailand, paprika and chilli from Peru, curry leaves from India, noodles from China and some fruit and vegetables from Egypt were now to be included after a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) yesterday endorsed the recommendations.

Physical and identity checks

Annex 1 of the new rule lists the food products to come under increased scrutiny and the frequency of “physical and identity checks” ​- ranging from between 10 and 50 per cent, depending on the foodstuff and country of origin.

The regulation, introduced on 25 January, covers documentary, identity and physical checks. The EC declared that “checks on documents accompanying the consignments will be carried out systematically on these products at EU borders, while physical checks will be performed at a lower frequency”.

The increased checks are designed to combat the presence of substances that could pose a risk to human health –such as aflatoxins in nuts and pesticides in fruit and vegetables. The amendments to Annex I are now subject to the scrutiny of the European Parliament and are expected to enter into force on October 1.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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