The guidance document released by EFSA yesterday sets out the rules for theevaluation of substances used by plants in removing microbial surface contamination from meats. Theoutcome could be the banning of some of the substances currently used by meat processors.
An EU regulation currently lays down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin,set out the legal basis for the use of substances other than potable water or clean water to remove surface contamination from foods of animal origin.
The regulation requires food processors to use such substances can only if their toxicological safety and efficacycan be demonstrated.
The European Commission's scientific panel on biological hazards (Biohaz) proposedthat EFSA take on the task of developing the guidance for evaluating such substances.
The EU's General Directorate of Health & Consumer Protection alsoasked EFSA to include the toxicological requirements in the guidance document.
On 31 March 2006 EFSA published the draft guidance document and asked forcomments, with a deadline of 26 May 2006. The comments were used to complete the final form of theguidance.
"It should be noted that this document is intended as guidance for the submission of data for the evaluation of the safety and efficacy of substances intended to be used for the removal of microbial surface contamination of foods of animal origin according to Article 3(2) of Regulation 853/2004 of the EuropeanParliament and Council on specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin," EFSA stated. "EFSA in its role as therisk assessment body in food safety in the European Union (EU) will provide a scientific opinion/assessmentafter an official request from the EC to evaluate the efficacy and safety of such substances."