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EU Limits Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Certain Foods

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October 7, 2020Plamena GospodinovaBlog

On 8 September 2020 the Official Journal of the European Union published an amendment to the Food Contaminants Regulation 1881/2006/EC related to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) present in traditionally smoked meat and fishery products, as well as in powders of food of plant origin when used for the preparation of beverages.

This amendment went into effect on 28 September 2020.

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The newly published Regulation 2020/1255 amends Section 6 (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) of the Annex of the Food Contaminants Regulation 1881/2006 by inserting new entry No. 6.1.16 on powders of food of plant origin when used for the preparation of beverages. The following maximum thresholds are established:

  • Benzo(a)pyrene: 10 μg/kg
  • Sum of benzo(a)pyrene, benz(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, and chrysene: 50 μg/kg

In addition, the new Regulation 2020/1255 brings some clarification regarding the PAHs derogations for smoked products. Until now, certain countries were authorized to use higher PAHs concentrations in all smoked meat and/or smoked fish when intended for local production and consumption. New Articles 7(6) and (7) henceforth limit the scope of the derogations, as they provide a detailed list of the products concerned. According to the text the derogations are granted for an unlimited period, but member states and food operators shall continue to implement good smoking practices in order to reduce PAHs contaminants.

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Starting 28 September 2020 interested shareholders should comply with the new PAHs requirements.

Powdered foodstuffs of plant origin intended to be used in beverages which are lawfully placed on the market before 28 September 2020 may remain on the market until 28 March 2021.

Food operators benefiting from PAHs derogations for smoked products are invited to consult the new wording of Articles 7(6) and (7) in order to assess whether their products fall within the scope of the PAHs derogations.