EU amends border checks for certain plant products

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, European commission, European parliament

The EU will ease controls for three imported products and boost the control frequency for Indian groundnuts, the European Commission has said.

The products in question are currently subject to reinforced border checks that were introduced by the EU at the start of this year.

Targeting a range of foods of non-animal origin, the new measures aim to boost food safety in the region. The update to the register was confirmed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) yesterday.

Indian groundnuts will have their control frequency increased from 10 per cent to 20 per cent in an attempt to detect the presence of hazardous substances, such as aflatoxins.

The proposed changes will also concern mangoes from the Dominican Republic, trace elements from China and groundnuts from Brazil.

In a statement​the EU said: “The frequency of border controls currently applicable to these commodities will be lowered from 50 per cent to 10 per cent.”

Physical and identity checks

The measures, laid out in Regulation (EC) No. 669/2009, set out for the first time some common rules for the control of certain imported plant products.

Annex 1 of the new rule listed the food products to come under increased scrutiny and also the frequency of “physical and identity checks” ​–​ranging from between 10 and 50 per cent, depending on the foodstuff and country of origin.

The EC declared that “checks on documents accompanying the consignments will be carried out systematically on these products at EU borders, while physical checks will be performed at a lower frequency”.

Safety chiefs hoped that the increased checks, which came into force on 25 January, would detect the presence of substances that could pose a risk to human health, such as aflatoxins in nuts and pesticides in fruit and vegetables.

The new amendments to Annex 1 are now subject to the scrutiny of the European Parliament and are expected to enter into force on January 1, 2011.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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