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The Joint Food Safety and Standards Group have circulated details of European Commission proposals on de minimis levels for the adventitious contamination of non-GM soya and maize with GM materials, and the labelling of GM additives had previously been circulated. These proposals have been subject to certain minor changes and were agreed in late October by qualified majority voting. Each proposal will now enter into force 90 days after publication in the Official Journal.
The UK pressed very hard for the de minimis 1 per cent threshold figure to be reviewed within a two-year period and for this to be included in the European Regulation. Although this move was unsuccessful, the Commission has agreed to provide a declaration to accompany the Regulation to address this point. A formal UK statement on this issue was also submitted as follows:
UK statement on the need for a review The proposal requires operators to keep the levels of adventitious contamination as low as possible and sets a legal limit of 1 per cent. The UK attaches considerable importance to keeping the threshold at the lowest level possible which is both feasibly detectable and practically deliverable. The UK therefore considers it essential that the threshold level is reviewed within two years in the expectation that significant improvements will have been made in analytical methods and the supply situation by then to enable it to be reduced considerably.
The necessary amendment legislation to bring the changes into effect will be drafted and circulated for comment as soon as possible and updates to the various guidance notes on GM food labelling will be circulated for comment at the same time.