United States Mission to the European Union
Foreign Agricultural Service
United States Department Of Agriculture
Last modified: February 15, 2017

Contaminants

 

CONTAMINANTS IN FOOD AND FEED

 

Food and feed exported to Europe has to comply with stringent EU legislation on contaminants, which specifies maximum levels for a series of contaminants in a wide range of products.  Checks on imported products are usually performed upon entry in the EU, but can take place at all stages of marketing.  Member State official controls must comform to the EU’s legislation on sampling methods and methods of analysis.  Member States perform random sampling and subsequent analysis of foodstuffs unless otherwise specified in EU legislation.  This is the case for an extensive list of products from various origins, which are subject to increased controls upon entry into the EU.  The EU considers that a reduction in controls is appropriate only for a very limited number of products.  EU import control levels depend largely on the history of non-compliance of shipments and on the EU’s knowledge of the situation in the country of origin, including on the programs and systems in place to keep contaminant levels to a minimum.  In this respect, the EU has considered the joint efforts by USDA and the U.S. industry to limit the formation of aflatoxins in nuts and peanuts and values the certifcation schemes that have been developed in the United States.

 

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