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© Martin Kieffer - Attorney
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Contaminants: when is a food considered unsafe?

2016-07-12 13:40

According to article 14 (2) of Regulation (EU) 178/2002 food shall be deemed to be unsafe if it considered to be

(a) injurious to health;

(b) unfit for human consumption.

Article 14 (2) (a) of Re. 178/2002 applies, if  foods do not comply with the  maximum levels provided for contaminants as laied down in Regualation 1881/2006.

Article 14 (2) (b) Regulation 178/2002 applies, if a food is not considered injurious to health but regarded inacceptable for human consumption, for instance for reasons of contamination, whether by extraneous matter or otherwise, or through putrefaction, deterioration or decay.

Although foods do not have any toxicoligical effects some German control bodies are tending to apply article 14 (2) (b)of Regulation  178/2002 if products contain much higher levels of  comtaminants than other products of the same category.

The above should be considered in particular with regard to polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Regulation 1881/2006 does not lay down any maximum levels for foods on a vegetable basis. In Brussels maxium levels of 10 ug/kg regarding  Benzo(a)pyren are under discussion. In Germany researches have been conducted  documenting that the average level of  Benzo(a)pyren is between 2 and 5 ug/kg.

For this reason foods with much more then 10 ug/kg of Benzo(a)pyren run the risk of beeing monitored, even if they do not have any toxicological effects.

PAH compounds are emitted from the processing of coal, crude oil, petroleum, and natural gas, from production of aluminium, iron and steel, fromheating in power plants and homes (oil, gas, charcoal-fired stoves, wood stoves), burning of refuse, wood fires, and from motor vehicle exhausts.

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