Food & Nutrition Analysis:

Other Legislation

No single regulation deals with authenticity or adulteration. Moreover this is covered by general labelling rules; the case that a product’s description should be accurate and not misleading. EU Regulation 1169/2011 (Download New Food Legislation 2014) in which came into force December 2014 covers rules on descriptions of products and hence authenticity and adulterations issues.

Following the horsemeat scandal there are now a number of working parties including government agencies continually reviewing proposals for guidance and regulation. We are part of the Authenticity Network and a centre of expertise in this area – http://www.foodauthenticity.uk/

Since April 2004 the GM Food and Feed Regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003 (Download “GMO-Reg_1829_2003_en.pdf”) has been in place. This legislation lays down rules to cover all GM food and animal feed, regardless of the presence of any GM material in the final product. This means products such as flour, oils and glucose syrups will have to be labelled as GM if they are from a GM source. Products produced with GM technology (cheese produced with GM enzymes, for example) will not have to be labelled. Products such as meat, milk and eggs from animals fed on GM animal feed will also not need to be labelled. Pollen in honey is not defined as an additive but as a product-typical contamination: the percentage of pollen in honey is far below 0.9% and must be understood as an accidental, technically unavoidable admixture – for which labelling is unnecessary; consequently it is not necessary to test or label honey as GM. This has been the subject of much debate in the European Parliament, and the situation may change. We are aware of some retailers who require their honey to be tested in order to place it as a premium product, and this service is available for any producers or retailers who may wish to verify the GM status.

Deliberate use of GM ingredients at any level must be labelled. However there is no need for small amounts of GM ingredients (below 0.9%) that are accidentally (adventitious or technically unavoidable are the terms used) present in a food to be labelled. Unauthorised GMOs are not permitted at any level.

Guidance notes on national regulations, Regulation (EC) 1829/2003 on Genetically Modified (GM) Food and Feed (the ‘Food and Feed Regulation’), and those on traceability and labeling, (EC) 1830/2003 on the Traceability and Labelling of GMOs (the ‘Traceability and Labelling Regulation’), which will apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can be found at http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/gmguidance.pdf. These EU regulations require labelling limits to refer to the GM content of each individual ingredient of a product, not the product as a whole.

Mycotoxins

Legislation is very prescriptive with regard to maximum levels of mycotoxin permitted in cereals, food and feed. Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 lists maximum allowable levels of the different mycotoxins in food (Download the legislation here now). Toxins covered by this legislation include aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin), ochratoxin, fumonisin, etc. Any presence of toxin above the stated level may be harmful if consumed therefore stock must be discarded. There are methods of removing some toxins from grain and other contaminated crops may be suitable for livestock. Due to the effects of aflatoxin M1 (in milk) on humans, which develops following dairy cattle’s consumption of grain contaminated with aflatoxin b1, the level of aflatoxin b1 in feed should be minimised.

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