EUROPE – In response to evolving risk assessments and inspection data, the European Commission has adjusted the levels of official controls for various imported food and feed products.

The changes, updated every six months, reflect shifts in focus, including modifications related to ethylene oxide and increased oversight on pesticide residues.

The revised legislation introduces changes in inspection frequencies for products linked to ethylene oxide, a chemical associated with contamination concerns.

While the inspection rate for sesame seeds from India has increased to 30%, controls on ethylene oxide itself will see a reduction from 50% to 30% of shipments.

The decision is based on insights from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and inspections by EU member states.

The European Commission has targeted specific products with increased or relaxed inspection levels.

For instance, instant noodles with spices or sauces from South Korea, previously subject to a 20% inspection rate due to ethylene oxide risks, will now be controlled at 10% based on improved compliance.

Pesticide residues

A notable aspect of the updates is the emphasis on pesticide residues, with increased scrutiny on several products.

Beans from Bangladesh, yard-long beans from India and Sri Lanka, granadilla and passion fruit from Thailand, durian from Vietnam, vine leaves from Egypt, and rice from Pakistan will face heightened oversight.

However, controls for mint from Israel have seen a relaxation.

Chernobyl-related import conditions

In response to the Chornobyl nuclear power station accident, the European Commission has introduced updated rules governing import conditions for certain foods and feeds.

The conditions particularly apply to products containing or derived from wild mushrooms and wild fruits, with specified maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination.

These rules encompass a range of products, including mixtures of nuts and dried fruits, jams, fruit jellies, and various foods with wild mushrooms or berries, reports Food Safety News.

The European Commission’s adjustments in inspection levels underscore a commitment to adapting measures based on emerging risks and compliance trends.

Striking a balance between effective controls and facilitating trade, these updates align with ongoing efforts to safeguard the quality and safety of imported food and feed products in the European Union.

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