Food Law News - EU - 2012

Midday Express, 6 July 2012

RESIDUES - Codex Alimentarius : statement by the EU on ractopamine

Following yesterday's vote at the Codex Alimentarius, the European Union reaffirms its position that an international standard for ractopamine is not justified. The European Union remains strongly opposed to the adoption of maximum residue limits (MRLs) for the growth promoting substance, ractopamine, in pigs and cattle as there remain outstanding safety concerns.

The European Union's risk assessment body, the European Food Safety Authority, has concluded that there is insufficient data upon which to make a proposal for MRLs for ractopamine and that thereby risks to human health cannot be ruled out. Given its outstanding safety concerns, the European Union's current legislation will remain in place. The European Union, together with other European countries, numbering close to 45 countries, was supported by an overwhelming number of some of the world's most populous nations, namely: China, the Russian Federation, India, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Kenya, Zimbabwe and others. These countries indicated that they too will maintain their positions and not approve the use of this growth promoting substance.

The European Union believes that the decision-making process that led to this result is regrettable. The decision was taken on the basis of a single vote difference. As an international organisation seeking to harmonise standards across the globe, Codex should respect consensus-based decision-making, one of the fundamental principles of the organisation. It is clear that for standards to be universally applicable, they also need to be universally accepted.

The European Commission represented EU interests at the 35th session of the annual Codex Alimentarius Commission which is taking place from 2-7 July 2012 in Rome. Bringing together 185 member countries, Codex's aim was to adopt internationally accepted standards on food safety and food quality. For more information on the Codex meeting:

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