The moves come after the EU introduced new measures at the start of 2010 to step up border controls on a range of foods of non-animal origin in a bid to boost food safety in the region. The measures, laid out in Regulation (EC) No. 669/2009, provide for a set of common rules for official controls on foods.
Under the most recent resolution endorsed at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) on 12 January, mangoes from the Dominican Republic, trace elements from China and groundnuts and derived products from Vietnam were taken off Annexe 1 of the list of food imports subject to extra scrutiny.
The European Commission said the decision was made following satisfactory report from member states over tests carried out on the products over the recent quarters. The list is reviewed on a quarterly basis.
Newly listed products
Brussels added that it would be adding South African groundnuts and products derived from them to the list over concerns of the possible presence of aflatoxins. Okra from India would also be listed because of pesticide residues.
Testing frequency lowered
The testing frequency currently applicable to chilli products and red palm oil for Sudan dyes will be lowered from 20 per cent to 10 per cent in light of their improved level of compliance with EU requirements, said the Commission.
All changes to the import list will now be sent to the European Parliament for scrutiny. Procedures to introduce increased checks to South African and India products would apply to newly listed imports as of 1 April, 2001. Delistings and lowering the frequency of checks for the chilli and red palm oil should be effective earlier, said the EC without giving a specific date.
The regulation covers documentary, identity and physical checks. 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”.