Food Law News - EU - 2007

FSA Letter (LSB/323), 18 July 2007

MINERAL WATER - Comments Sought on Proposed Draft European Regulation on Fluoride Removal from Natural Mineral Water Using Activated Alumina

We have recently received a draft copy of new legislation establishing criteria for permitting treatment of natural mineral water to remove fluoride with activated alumina and we are seeking comments on it from stakeholders [For a copy of the Commission draft, see: Mineral Water - Draft Amendment].

We would welcome any comments on this draft legislation and particularly on the following issues:

1) p.1, Recital (2): Given that natural mineral waters are characterised by their composition, is it acceptable to allow treatment to further reduce fluoride where the concentration is already legally acceptable (i.e. at or below 5 mg/L)?

2) p.3, Article 3: The current proposed labelling for bottled water which has been treated with activated alumina to remove fluoride is “water subject to an authorised adsorption technique”. Is this sufficiently clear to let the consumer know how the natural mineral water has been treated?

This paper was discussed at a meeting of the European Commission Natural Mineral Waters Working Group on 12 July, but was not circulated early enough to allow consultation with stakeholders before the meeting.

The attached draft was discussed at the Working Group meeting, during which several suggestions were made for amendments. The Commission will circulate a revised version to Member States in the coming weeks, and once received this will also be immediately circulated to Interested Parties.

Please note that no Impact Assessment has been produced as the information we have is that UK producers already meet the appropriate fluoride limit and would therefore not need to use this treatment. If, however, you believe that this amendment will result in a significant impact we would welcome your comments and evidence including evidence on costs.

Due to the short timeframe for responding to the European Commission, can you please send any comments by 17 August 2007.

For Information: Metal Oxide Treatment (Mn and Fe based)

The Agency anticipates that the Commission will also be producing a similar Regulation to that attached on the use of metal oxides for treating natural mineral water and spring water to remove manganese, iron and arsenic. If you would be interested in receiving future circulations as this issue develops, please let me know.

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