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31.7.2018 CONTAMINANTS: Update on WG Contaminants July 13, 2018

This is to inform you about the outcome of the meeting of the Commission working group on agricultural contaminants of July 13, 2018 as reported by the Dutch national authorities (not an official EC report), which confirms Patrick’s recent update on contaminants (mail of July 11 below). For your convenience, we attach the Dutch authorities report available only in Dutch.  více

30.7.2018 FOOD LAW - Revision of GFLR: EP draft report published

Mrs Sommers’ draft report  on the EC proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and Council on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chainis now available at: více

19.7.2018 Italy - New Notification System for FS; Croatia - New Rules on edible Fats & Oils; Belgium : Recommended Methods of Analysis for Plants

This is an update on a number of recent national developments regarding food supplements:  více

11.7.2018 CONTAMINANTS: update on EU discussions and agenda of next meeting

Please find below an update on the various dossiers on contaminants that are currently being discussed at Commission level, based on feedback from the Commission and certain Member States.

-           Ochratoxin A: As you know, Food Supplements Europe submitted its comments into the public consultation in May and argued that there is no justification to set a maximum level for botanicals. The Commission discussed the outcome of this consultation with the Member States at its last meeting in June. Based on comments by the Member States, the Commission will ask EFSA for a new exposure estimate and on this basis to identify the food categories that would need to be considered.

-           Erucic acid: Also in May, Food Supplements Europe submitted its comments in the Commission consultation on this topic, indicating that the proposed limit (20 g/kg) is not feasible for borage oil. As a result, the Commission will exempt this oil, as well as camelina oil and mustard oil. Specific limits will also be proposed for infant formula (4 g/kg) and mustard (35 g/kg) (all values calculated on the total level of fatty acids)

-           Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA): The last meeting focused on methods of detection and the problem of the low levels of quantification. EURL (EU Reference Laboratories) will carry out a proficiency test this year. Based on the comments provided by Food Supplements Europe and Tea and Herbal Infusions Europe, several Member States also asked the Commission to investigate what reduction of levels is achievable by Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) and to promote such principles. For PA containing plants, the maximum value of 4 µg/kg (as for novel foods) is being discussed. However, this is much lower than what current occurrence data show. The occurrence of PA in spices and kitchen herbs is also being taken up in the discussions.

-           Citrinin in red yeast rice: The current maximum. level of 2000 μg/kg is proposed to be lowered to 100 μg/kg for food supplements. This is not expected to be problematic by the Commission as data communicated to the Commission by Member States show much lower levels (<10 µg/kg).

-           Perchlorate: Discussions on maximum levels continue.

-           3-MCPD(esters): Discussions on a possible level of 2500 μg/kg for all oils continue A lower level (1250 μg/kg) may be appropriate for certain oils, while for others a higher level could be adopted (3000 μg/kg). There is still a possibility that these levels will also apply to fish oil, despite the data from GOED, submitted by Food Supplements Europe.

The next meeting of the agricultural contaminants working group is on 13 July. The agenda is attached, as well as the reports of the last meeting by the UK and NL authorities. více

11.7.2018 CoQ10: Belgian scientific opinion does not support increase to 300 mg/d ion food supplements

We would like to inform you that the Belgian Superior Health Council (SHC) has published an opinion relating to a permissible maximum level of ubiquinone (CoQ10)  in food supplements (Opinion n° 9483 and 9487, available in French and Dutch):

For ubiquinone in food supplements, legal minimum (4 mg/day) and maximum (200 mg/day) levels are already applicable for food supplements. A higher level (300 mg/day) was requested by the Belgian food supplements sector. 

The SHC concluded that they do not see a reason to increase the level, as there are no scientific data showing a benefit or need to complement the diet with ubiquinone in healthy individuals, nor a preventive or curative role in certain pathologies (No health claim is authorised).

It remains to be seen what action the Belgian authorities will take, given that the opinion also does not highlight any safety concern of an intake level of 300 mg/day.


11.7.2018 OTHER SUBSTANCES : NORWAY notifies Draft Regulations

Norway has notified the European Commission ( via the TRIS system) about two new draft laws on:  více

29.6.2018 Revision of GFLR: FSE input

Please see attached the FSE input that was uploaded on the Commission website in response to the consultation. více

21.6.2018 TRANS FATS : EC questions on options to limit industrially manufactured trans fats - FSE draft position - Input By June 20 @ 3 p.m CET

In view of the participation of FSE to the Advisory Stakeholders Group meeting on Transfats on June 21, and based on input received from members, we have developed the attached draft position regarding the 6 questions from the EC on transfats.  více

21.6.2018 Revision of GFLR: Update on timing and input into the EC consultation for your comments

Please find herewith an update on the revision of the General Food Law Regulation.As you know, the proposal for a Regulation on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain amending Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 was published on 11 April 2018. It is to be adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure.

Final adoption is scheduled by the end of the second half of 2019. The adoption during the last plenary meeting of the EP is the absolute deadline.

The lead Committee is the ENVI Committee
- Rapporteur: Renate Sommer (EPP, Germany).
- Shadow Rapporteurs: Pavel Poc (S&D, Czech Republic) / Arne Gericke (ECR, Germany) / Frederick Federley (ALDE, Sweden) / Martin Häusling (Greens/EFA, Germany) / Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, Netherlands)
- Timing:
   Adoption of the draft Report: 29-30 August 2018.
   Deadline for ENVI amendments 11 September 2018.
   ENVI vote on the draft Report and amendments: 8 November 2018.
   EP plenary vote: plenary meeting second half of November 2018. 

Other Committees that will express an opinion include: JURI / AGRI / ITRE / PECH

The Commission has also launched a consultation until 25 June. For this consultation, we have prepared the attached statement.
We would appreciate any comment from your side by Thursday 22 June, so we can complete and submit our input.

We are also working on amendments, on which we will come back once the rapporteur’s report is available.


30.5.2018 PYRROLIZIDINE ALKALOIDS: - Draft Comments

Many thanks to all of you who have already provided input into this request. více

22.5.2018 GENERAl FOOD LAW: Analysis, comments and proposed amendments for your input

As you are aware, the proposal for changing the General Food Law Regulation is currently in the regulatory process and Mrs. Renate Sommer (EPP), who was our guest at the Berlin conference has been appointed rapporteur in the European Parliament.

We have analysed the proposal and identified a number of critical issues, some f which can severely affect the competitive position of the European food industry and in particular the market of functional ingredients. Notably the intention to make full applications available at the moment the application is submitted, is unacceptable as it will display the applicants knowhow and business plans for all competition to just take and copy.

Attached is a short document highlighting the key aspects that we would like to bring to the attention of the rapporteur and national authorities that provide input in the Council discussions. Also attached is.a number of possible amendments.

Given that we are under time constraints, we would like to receive your input and comments by 25 May.

We will liaise with FoodDrinkEurope and EU Specialty Food Ingredients to develop a common list of amendments and coordinate on our approach in the Parliament and towards the Council. více

22.5.2018 ADDITIVES : EFSA ANS Plenary Meeting - TIO2 - Monacolin K - Nutrient guidance

EFSA Additives Panel held a plenary meeting opened to observers yesterday (May 16) that discussed in particular three issues of interest to Food Supplements:  více

15.5.2018 Mutual Recognition Update - Input by May 26

We are pleased to share with you an update on Mutual Recognition (MR), following our meeting with the EC official in charge of the dossier.  více

30.4.2018 PYRROLIZIDINE ALKALOIDS: FSE activities based on further feedback for the EC Working Group meeting

This is to inform you on our activities relating to pyrrolizidine alkaloids, as a follow up of the meeting of the EC working group of 6 April where the FSE provided information was discussed by the Member States.

As already reported, the discussions of the Member States go into the direction of covering all 21 PAs. Levels, if set will be based on the lower bound and a LOQ is likely to be set at <5 μg/kg. We understand that there still are issues with the feasibility of the analytical methods and that the Commission will ask EURL to check with the national reference labs what is feasible.

Although the options (maximum levels, guidance levels and guides of best practice) are still open, the discussion seems to focus on setting levels. A number of Member States indicated to be in favour of setting very low maximum levels for plants that naturally contain PAs. The NL authorities indicated that their legislation is under revision.

It is therefore crucial to find support of the Member States for the application of guidance levels based on best practice. 

As both tea and herbal infusions and food supplements seem to be the priorities for discussion at the next meeting of the working group, FSE organised a meeting with Tea & Herbal Infusion Europe (THIE) to explore possibilities for a collaboration.

Although naturally PS containing plants are not used in tea and herbal infusion, the accidental co-harvesting is an issue that THIE has been working on and where much progress in the application of guides of best practice has been made. 

FSE and THIE agreed therefore to share information on EU developments and promote a common approach based on guides of best practice in the countries covered by their membership.

Since there may be a lack of knowledge in officials dealing with this issue at EU level, raising awareness is the key priority and the possibility for joint meetings are envisaged in a number of Member States. We would ask our members to liaise with the national experts participating in the EU discussion in their country to communicate the FSE position. We would be pleased to help where needed.

Within BLL a common code is being developed covering all affected foods, including food supplements. We will investigate how this work (scheduled to be finalised by end 2018) could be leveraged at EU level, with the help of the sectors that are primarily affected (FSE, THIE, ESA (spices), EUROPAM (growers), FEEDM (Honey) and ultimately Food Drink Europe). It would be good to identify national members of these associations, so collaboration can also be build at national level.

We count on our members to raise the awareness, so we can avoid that restrictive maximum levels are set for accidental contamination and will keep you further updated. The activities will be coordinated with the help of our specific botanicals task force.

Please let us know your information as soon as possible.


30.4.2018 CONTAMINANTS: PERCHLORATE call for input

As we informed you before, the Commission is discussing the setting of maximum levels for the presence of perchlorate in a number of foods. Perchlorate is a contaminant that is taken up by plants from the soil. It is of particular importance for leafy vegetables.
In 2015 the Commission developed guidance levels for trade between the Member States (see attached). Based on new data and pending a current investigation by EFSA, these, or even lower levels are likely to be proposed in the coming months as legal limits.

Specific levels are set for dried tea and herbal infusions. For all foods not specifically mentioned, a default level of 0.05 mg/kg applies. This would also be the level applicable to food supplements.

As we have no data to assess if this level is feasible for botanical food supplements, we would urgently ask our members to share any data or views, so we can take the necessary actions

As we informed you, the Commission official in charge of contaminants is our guest at the next Food Supplements Forum meeting on 31 May, which presents an opportunity to discuss this.

Please let us know any data or views by 18 May. Please also let us know if you do not have data or other information.


23.4.2018 CONTAMINANTS : EC consultation on Maximum levels for Ochratoxin A and Erucic Acid in various foods

Following the findings of increased levels of Ochratoxin A in food commodities which are not regulated (i.e. no maximum level has been established) at EU level, the working group “Agricultural Contaminants” of the Standing Committee on Plants Animals Food and Feed, section Novel Food and Toxicological Safety of the Food Chain, has discussed the possible setting of maximum levels in various foods.  více

17.4.2018 ADDITIVES : Agenda of next EFSA Additives Panel - May 15 to 17 - Titanium Dioxide - Monacolin in red rice yeast

Further our mails below, please be informed that next EFSA Additives and Nutrients Sources Panel taking place on May 15 to 17, 2018 will discuss the draft output on the 4 studies on Titanium Dioxide that have recently been submitted by the EC for review ( our mail of April 4 below). The agenda of the meeting is attached for your information.  Part of it will be open to observers, notably that relating to Titanium Dioxide.  více

11.4.2018 CONTAMINANTS; Update on Pyrrollizidine alkaloids

This is to update you on the discussions that took place last week in relation to pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the EC working group..

The Commission and Member States took well note of our comments. They discussed the 21 alkaloids and the methods of analysis. Based on national experience, a report will be developed for the next meeting on the methods of analysis.

Also the national measures already in place in Netherlands and Belgium for PA containing plants were discussed. Although support from certain Member States, we understand there is as yet no firm determination to proceed with setting maximum levels neither for plants naturally containing PAs, nor for accidental co-harvesting.

The Commission and Member States set priorities for actions, with tea and herbal infusions as first priority, food supplements as second and honey as third.

The Commission welcomed our data, but indicated that it may be of limited value for an assessment by EFSA given that we should provide data of the combined presence of the 21 alkaloids.

Please send. Any further data to the secretariat.

The next meeting is scheduled end of May, beginning of June.

We invited the EC to come to our Food Supplements Forum meeting on 31 May. So members with a particular interest in contaminants are very welcome to attend. více

11.4.2018 ADDITIVE - NANO: E 171 Titanium Dioxide - France asks EC for immediate prohibition

To follow up the note below, please find attached the note the French authorities (plus English translation) have sent to the Commission, asking for an urgency measure to ban the use of TiO2 on the basis of article 53 of the General Food Law Regulation.

The reason given is the availability of new studies that the EC has asked EFSA to assess.

This matter will be discussed in the meeting of the Standing Committee on 17 April (See agenda attached).

Noteworthy is also that the French Parliament recently voted in a Committee on the ban of products containing TiO2 (manufactured in France and imported) as of July. This still has to be confirmed by the plenary. více

10.4.2018 Issue with nano-labelling in France

This is to inform you about an issue that our members have informed us about in France and that we would like to bring to your attention.

The French enforcement authorities DGCCRF have started enforcing the labelling of nano material on foods, including food supplements. In particularly products containing titanium dioxide and silicon dioxide are being tested and companies are being contacted and fined for not labelling the nano aspect of these substances.

It is clear that in doing so  the French authorities take a position that is not in conformity with EU rules;

- EU labelling rules (Regulation 1169/2011, Art 2.2 (t)) requires the labelling of ‘engineered’ nano-materials only. The French DGCCRF does not make any distinction between engineered nano-materials and non-engineered ones (which may be present in TiO2 and SiO2)

- The French authorities have published a specific law on the labelling of nano-materials (Arrêté of 17 Mai 2017) in which they adopt the EU definition from Regulation 1169/2011 (which since 1 January 2018 is in Regulation 2015/2283, Art 3.2 (f)) but also include a reference to a 10% threshold for labelling, which is not set at EU level and thus creates an interpretation issue.

The Commission intends to update the definition, but is waiting for the update of the Commission recommendation on the definition of nano-materials first, which is now only expected by end of this year)

The approach but the French authorities is a result of huge pressure by consumer groups. Some of these groups have already taken food companies to court over this issue.

This is an issue that has not spread to other Member States yet. The Commission is aware but is not intending to address this for the time being.

For companies being challenged on the French market, we recommend following the French industry associations, that are in direct discussion with the authorities. Our position is clearly that the approach of the DGCCRF is not in line with current EU law.

We continue monitoring this issue.

Please inform us as soon as you would have any indication this issue is also spreading in your country. více


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