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Food Safety


The basic principles of EU legislation on contaminants in food are laid down in Council Regulation 315/93/EEC:

  • Food containing a contaminant to an amount unacceptable from the public health viewpoint and in particular at a toxicological level, shall not be placed on the market

  • Contaminant levels shall be kept as low as can reasonably be achieved following recommended good working practices

  • Maximum levels must be set for certain contaminants in order to protect public health

Maximum levels for certain contaminants in food are set in Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006. Maximum levels in certain foods are set for the following contaminants:

  • nitrate
  • mycotoxins (aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, fumonisins and citrinine)
  • metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, inorganic tin, arsenic)
  • 3-MCPD
  • dioxins
  • dioxin-like PCBs
  • non dioxin-like PCBs
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) (benzo(a)pyrene) and sum of 4 PAHs)
  • melamine
  • erucic acid

Commission Recommendations