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EU to Warn on Potential Health Risk of Dioxins, Furans and PCBs in Foods and Feeds

On 3 December 2013, European Union (EU) Commission Recommendation 2011/516/EU (1) was replaced by Commission Recommendation 2013/711/EU (2).

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EU to reduce dioxins, furans and PCBs in feed and food to ensure food safety.
EU to reduce dioxins, furans and PCBs in feed and food to ensure food safety.
PRLog (Press Release) - Jan. 23, 2014 - BANGKOK, Thailand -- In the new recommendation, EU Member States should monitor the presence of dioxins, furans, and dioxin-like PCBs in food, especially in free range and organic eggs, liver of sheep and lamb, Chinese mitten crab (muscle meat from appendage, brown meat, and total products), dried herbs (feed and food), and clays sold as food supplements.  The action levels of these compounds in the products should express and refer to wet weights basis.

PCBs Defined as Contamination Sources in Feed and Food

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), poly chlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and dioxin-like poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are toxic contaminants that cause immunological system damage and cancer in humans.  Here the term of dioxins refers to the sum of PCDDs and PCDFs. Dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs are very persistent and widely distributed in the environment and food chains.  Ingestion via food consumption is the main route for human exposure.  Recently, several dioxin crises occurred in food products such as poultry, pork, beef, eggs, and seafood resulting in huge economic losses.  The contamination came from feed contaminated with these compounds.  Due to their lipophilic properties, dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs accumulate in fatty animal tissue and the liver.

Maximum Level of PCBs and Dioxins

To protect the health of consumers, the EU has established maximum levels for dioxins and sum of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs for foods by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 (3) and for feeds by Directive 2002/32/EC (4). Furthermore, in order to stimulate a proactive approach to reduce the presence of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in food and feed Commission Recommendation 2011/516/EU set action levels as an early warning.  The unit of action levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs are expressed as toxic equivalents (WHO-TEQ) according to World Health Organization (WHO) toxic equivalency factor (TEF) scheme (5).  The Recommendation 2011/516/EU was now replaced by Commission Recommendation 2013/711/EU.  It recommends an additional focus on several products to be monitored. The additional action levels of the updated food products are listed in Table 1(http://newsletter.sgs.com/eNewsletterPro/uploadedimages/0...) within the latest SafeGuardS bulletin.  Member States should take action as follows in case the food products and feed are non-compliant with maximum levels and action levels:

- Initiate investigation and identification of contaminated sources

- Reduce or eliminate the source of contamination

- Submit all the occurrence data of dioxin and DL-PCBs in food and feed to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

- Inform the Commission and the other Member states about their findings, the results of their investigation, and the measures taken to reduce or eliminate the source of contamination.

References:

(1) Commission Recommendation of 23 August 2011 on the reduction of the presence of dioxins, furans and PCBs in feed and food(2011/516/EU)
(http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:...)

(2) Commission Recommendation of 3 December 2013on the reduction of the presence of dioxins, furans and PCBs in feed and food (2013/711/EU)
(http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:...)

(3) Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (OJ L 364, 20.12.2006, p. 5)
(http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:2006R1881:20100701:EN:PDF)

(4) Directive 2002/32/EC of The European Parliament and of the Council of 7 May 2002 on undesirable substances in animal feed
(http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2002:140:0010:0021:EN:PDF)

(5) Scientific Opinion on the presence of dioxins (PCDD/Fs) and dioxin - like PCBs (DL - PCBs) in commercially available foods for infants and young children
(http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/2983.pdf)

About SGS Food Safety Services

SGS is committed to keeping readers informed of regulatory news and developments. Leveraging a global network of laboratories and food experts, SGS provides a comprehensive range of food safety and quality solutions including analytical testing, audits (http://www.sgs.com/en/Agriculture-Food/Food/Primary-Production/Audits.aspx), certifications, inspections and technical support. SGS continually invests in world class testing capabilities and state-of-the-art technology to help clients reduce risks, and improve food safety and quality.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact the SGS experts.

Contact details:

SGS Consumer Testing Services

Amornpun Dajsiripun
GCSC Food Specialist - Global Competence Support Center
41/23 Soi Rama III 59 Rama III Road, Chongnonsee
Yannawa
10120 Bangkok
Thailand

t: +66 2 683 0541 ext 2413
Email: cts.media@sgs.com
Website: www.foodsafety.sgs.com

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 75 000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1 500 offices and laboratories around the world.

Photo:
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Source:SGS Consumer Testing Services
City/Town:Bangkok - Bangkok - Thailand
Industry:Consumer, Food
Tags:food safety, pcbs, feed and food, food contamination, dioxin
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