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28 July, 2022 Legal Update

Food Safety Update: July 2022

Food Safety Update: July 2022

Check out this month's food safety update with news from Canada, China, the EU, Japan, and the USA.

Codex ML for Total Aflatoxins in RTE Peanuts

The INC participated in the 15th Session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF15), from May 9-13 and May 24, 2022. Agenda Item 10 was of special interest, as it discussed the establishment of a maximum level (ML) for total aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts and an associated sampling plan.
Member States did not agree on the intended creation of an international ML for ready-to-eat peanuts. The discussions revolved around establishing an ML of 10 μg/kg or 15 μg/kg.
In conclusion, the CCCF agreed:
  • to return the ML and associated sampling plan to Step 2/3 for further consideration;
  • to re-establish the electronic working group chaired by India and co-chaired by Senegal, to prepare a new proposal for an ML for total aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts, and an associated sampling plan applying the same principles for the sampling plan for peanuts intended for further processing in the Standard for Contaminants in Food and Feed (CXS 193-1995);
  • to present a paper for consideration by CCCF16.

Canada: New MRLs for Flutriafol

On July 18, 2022, Canada notified the World Trade Organization the proposed maximum residue limit (PMRL) for flutriafol in almonds and dried cones.
Commodity MRL (ppm)
Almonds 0.6
Hops (dried cones) 20

China: MRLs

According to a USDA GAIN report, on June 16, 2022, the People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) released two draft National Food Safety Standards for maximum residue limits covering a total of 98 pesticides in foods for public comment.
Nuts and dried fruits are among the commodities covered.
Public comment period ended on July 15, 2022.
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EU: Temporary Increase of Official Controls and Emergency Measures

On June 13, the European Commission published the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/913 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 on the temporary increase of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the Union of certain goods from certain third countries implementing Regulations (EU) 2017/625 and (EC) No 178/2002.
Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 lays down rules on the temporary increase of official controls at the entry into the Union on certain food and feed of non-animal origin from certain third countries listed in Annex I, and on the imposition of special conditions governing the entry into the Union of certain consignments of food and feed from certain third countries due to the risk of contamination by mycotoxins, including aflatoxins, pesticide residues, pentachlorophenol and dioxins, and microbiological contamination, listed in Annex II.
Products of concern:
  • Hazelnuts and hazelnut oil from Georgia, a high frequency of non-compliance with the relevant requirements provided for in Union legislation with respect to contamination by aflatoxins was detected during official controls performed by Member States in accordance with Annex I to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793. The frequency of identity and physical checks to be performed on such consignments is incremented to 30%.
  • The Combined Nomenclature (‘CN’) codes 2008191340 and 2008199340 can only be used for mixtures containing almonds or pistachios but not for mixtures containing peanuts. Since only mixtures containing peanuts are likely to pose a risk of contamination by aflatoxins, these CN codes should be deleted for the entries for Argentina in Annex I to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 and for Egypt, Ghana, Gambia, India and Sudan in the table in point 1, of Annex II.
The Regulation entered into force on July 3, 2022.
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EU: Results of F2F Targets on Pesticides

On June 15, 2022, the Commission published updated progress towards Farm to Fork pesticide reduction targets for the period 2011-2020.
  • The results show a continued reduction in the use and risk of chemical pesticides.
  • The use and risk of chemical pesticides shows a decrease of 14% from the baseline period of 2015-2017, and a 1% decline compared to 2020.
  • The use of more hazardous pesticides shows a decrease of 26% from the baseline period of 2015-2017, and a 9% decline compared to 2020.
Although progress is steady and continuous, the results show that Member States need to do more to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides under the Farm to Fork strategy.
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EU: New Draft MRLs for Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam

Clothianidin and thiamethoxam are neonicotinoid (neonics) insecticides. The most recent risk assessment for bees from the exposure to these substances, conducted under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, found that the exposure from outdoor use leads to unacceptable risks for bees, or such risks could not be excluded based on the available data.
Regulations (EU) 2018/784 and 2018/785 restricted the approval of clothianidin and thiamethoxam, respectively, to use in permanent greenhouses only, and required that the resulting crops stayed within a permanent greenhouse during their entire life cycle. The applicants for the renewal of approval of clothianidin, and thiamethoxam have withdrawn their applications.
According to the new Sustainable Use Regulation (SUR) draft: Imported food containing measurable residues of prohibited substances should over time not be marketed in the EU. This would include food products containing a measurable amount of neonics residues.
New draft MRL for Clothianidin (mg/kg):
Commodity Draft MRLs
Tree nuts 0.01
Oilseeds and oil fruits (including peanuts) 0.01
New draft MRL for Thiamethoxam (mg/kg):
Commodity Draft MRLs
Tree nuts 0.01
Oilseeds and oil fruits (including peanuts) 0.01
These regulations shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (not yet published). It shall apply from 36 months after entry into force.
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EU: New Draft MRLs for Benalaxyl, Bromoxynil, Chlorsulfuron, Epoxiconazole and Fenamiphos

The European Commission notified the World Trade Organization a new draft Commission Regulation amending Annexes II, III and V to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for benalaxyl, bromoxynil, chlorsulfuron, epoxiconazole and fenamiphos in or on certain products. 
The MRLs for these substances are changed in certain commodities. Lower MRLs are set after updating the limits of determination and/or deleting old uses, which are not authorized any more in the European Union or for which a human health concern may not be excluded.
Proposed MRLs for benalaxyl, bromoxynil, chlorsulfuron, epoxiconazole and fenamiphos:
Commodity Draft MRLs
Tree nuts 0.01
Fruits[1] 0.01
[1] New draft MRLs for benalaxyl in table grapes and wine grapes are 0.7 and 0.3, respectively.
EU Member States will vote on the proposal at the Standing Committee meeting on September 26-27, 2022.
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EU: Updated Rules on Sustainable Pesticide Use

The European Commission has opened a feedback period on a proposal for a new regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products, amending Regulation (EU) 2021/2115.
The first objective is to:
  • reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides, in particular those containing more hazardous active substances;
  • increase the application and enforcement of integrated pest management; and
  • increase the use of less hazardous and non-chemical alternatives to chemical pesticides for pest control.
The second objective is to improve the availability of monitoring data, including on:
  • the application, use of, and risk from pesticides; and
  • health and environmental monitoring.
The third objective is to improve the implementation, application and enforcement of legal provisions across all Member States to improve policy effectiveness and efficiency.
The fourth objective is to promote the adoption of new technologies, such as precision farming that makes use of space data and services (including geospatial localization techniques), with the aim of reducing the overall use and risk of pesticides.
Feedback period ends on September 19, 2022.
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Japan: Allergen Labeling, Walnuts

According to a USDA report of June 10, 2022, Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency will add walnuts to the list of allergens that manufacturers and importers must include on the label of packaged products containing walnuts. This measure comes as a result of a new longitudinal study on food allergies in Japan.
In Japan, there are currently seven foods that must be labeled as allergens: eggs, milk, wheat, buckwheat, peanuts, shrimp, and crab.
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Japan: 248th Food Safety Group

According to a recent USDA report, at the 248th Food Safety Group meeting, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare proposed revisions to maximum residue levels (MRLs) for nine agricultural chemicals, including etofenprox, fenpyroximate, florasulam, fluensulfone and tetraconazole.
Commodity Draft MRLs (ppm) Current MRLs (ppm)
Peanuts, dry 0.01 0.05
Commodity Draft MRLs (ppm) Current MRLs (ppm)
Pecan 0.05 0.05
Almond 0.05 0.05
Walnut 0.05 0.05
Other nuts (refers to all nuts, except ginkgo nut, chestnut, pecan, almond and walnut) 0.05 0.05
Commodity Draft MRLs (ppm) Current MRLs (ppm)
Cranberry 0.05 0.05
Pecan 0.03 -
Almond 0.03 -
Walnut 0.03 -
Other nuts (refers to all nuts, except ginkgo nut, chestnut, pecan, almond and walnut) 0.03 -

USA: Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program

The Farm Service Agency is announcing the availability of $200 million through the new Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program. This is for specialty crop operations that incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses to obtain or renew a food safety certification in calendar years 2022 or 2023.
To be eligible for assistance with expenses related to a 2022 food safety certification, the certification must have been issued on or after June 21, 2022. Specialty crops definition includes tree nuts.
The application period for 2022 ends on January 31, 2023.
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USA: MRLs, Teflubenzuron

The Environmental Protection Agency has established new tolerances for residues of the insecticide teflubenzuron in or on grapes and raisins.
Commodity MRL (ppm)
Grapes 0.7
Grapes, raisin 0.9
The rule is effective June 6, 2022. The deadline for objections and requests for hearings is August 5, 2022
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