The European Commission has changed the level of inspections on various imported products, including decreases related to ethylene oxide and increases due to pesticide residues.

The revised legislation sets the rate of official controls and special conditions for food and feed of non-animal origin imported into Europe. Rules are modified every six months.

Decisions are based on reports in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and information from documents, identity, and physical inspections by EU countries in early 2023.

Checks on sesame seeds for Salmonella from India have been tightened to 30 percent of consignments. However, controls for ethylene oxide will be relaxed from 50 percent to 30 percent of shipments.

Ethylene oxide amendments
Instant noodles containing spices and seasonings or sauces from South Korea have had a higher rate of official controls because of the risk of contamination by ethylene oxide since December 2021. Findings by member states show better compliance, so the control level of 20 percent of consignments entering the EU has been reduced to 10 percent.

Stricter checks on food supplements containing botanicals from South Korea and peppers (other than sweet) from Uganda due to ethylene oxide have been removed.

The frequency of identity and physical checks on cumin seeds from Turkey for pyrrolizidine alkaloids has been increased to 30 percent.

Guar gum from India has been subjected to increased official controls because of the risk of contamination by pentachlorophenol and dioxins since February 2015. National inspections show improvement in compliance, so the level of controls has been reduced from 50 percent of consignments entering the EU to 30 percent.

Peanuts, also known as groundnuts, from the U.S., will still be checked at a frequency of 20 percent for aflatoxins. Vanilla extract controls for pesticide residues also remain unchanged at 20 percent.

The majority of updates feature pesticide residues. Increased oversight has been put on seem and helmet beans from Bangladesh, yard-long beans from India and Sri Lanka, granadilla and passion fruit from Thailand, durian from Vietnam, vine leaves from Egypt, and rice from Pakistan. However, controls have been relaxed for mint from Israel.

Oversight related to Chernobyl

The EU Commission has also updated rules covering import conditions of food and feed from other countries following the accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power station in 1986.

Conditions apply to products containing or derived from wild mushrooms and wild fruits of the genus Vaccinium, such as cranberries and blueberries, several other mushroom types, and some juices and waters.

Mixtures of nuts and dried fruits, jams, fruit jellies, marmalades, fruit or nut purée and fruit or nut pastes, mixtures of juices, flavored waters, and certain foods with several ingredients containing the affected mushrooms and fruits are also covered by the rules.

Certain foods with wild mushrooms or wild berries might also contain ingredients of animal origin, so physical controls should only be performed at the border control post, said the EU Commission.

The maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination in terms of cesium-137 is 370 Bq/kg for milk and milk products and food for infants and young children. It is 600 Bq/kg for all other covered products.

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