Introduction To Eu And Usa Legislation

Over the past 15 years a series of food safety crises (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), dioxins, high pesticide and antibiotic content in several foods, high nitrates content, presence of coliforms in drinking water, usage of Sudan Red 1 and formation of acrylamide among others) occurred within the frame of European Union (EU) thus resulting in great losses of human lives and capital. These crises made EU citizens more alert but also increased considerably the EU legislative task in an attempt to undertake preventive instead of corrective measures. One of the top priority areas was dealing with the safety and hygiene directives.

In practical terms, the requirements on primary producers amount, in the main, to fairly basic hygiene procedures. Primary producers must ensure that hazards are acceptably controlled and respect other existing legislation.

Comprehensive Analytical Chemistry, Volume 51 © 2008 Elsevier B.V.

ISSN: 0166-526X, DOI 10.1016/S0166-526X(08)00002-0 All rights reserved.

Primary producers will not be required to apply Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)-based procedures. Primary producers will have to be registered with Competent Authorities, although existing forms of registration may be used for this purpose. Stakeholders are being consulted on the form the controls will take to ensure they are practicable and can be addressed in Good Practice Guides to be initiated by industry with support from other stakeholders.

For most people in the EU access to potable and clean water in quite abundant quantities is taken for granted. Most people do not realise, however, that all human activities put a burden on water quality and quantity. All polluted water, whether polluted by households, industry or agriculture, returns back, one way or another, to the environment and may cause damage to human health or the environment (

In August 199, Food Quality Protection Act was signed in US — a comprehensive overhaul of laws that regulate pesticides in food. The new law establishes a single, strong health-based standard by using the best science available, and, for the first time, provides Americans with the "right-to-know" about health risks from pesticides. In August 1996, it was signed into law the Safe Water Drinking Act of 1996, strengthening protections to ensure that American families have clean, safe tap water to drink. On 2 December 1997, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved irradiation of meat products for controlling disease-causing microorganisms. Disease causing microorganisms that can be controlled by irradiation include the Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella species ( The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulates all raw beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey, as well as processed meat and poultry products, including hams, sausage, soups, stews, pizzas and frozen dinners (any product that contains 2 percent or more cooked poultry or 3 percent or more raw meat). Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act and the Egg Products Inspection Act, FSIS inspects all meat, poultry and eggs prepared for distribution in commerce, including imported products. FSIS develops and improves analytical procedures for detecting microbiological and chemical adulterants and infectious and toxic agents in meat and poultry products ( With 27.4 million pounds of ready-to-eat poultry products recalled due to fears of Listeria. Since January 2000, all federally inspected meat and poultry slaughtering and processing plants operate under the HACCP system to ensure meat safety. Schumer's legislation will give the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority needed to establish and enforce microbiological standards. These standards will include specific pathogens like Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli and others identified as threats ( press_releases/PR01257.html).

Food contamination refers to the presence in food of harmful chemicals and microorganisms that can cause consumer illness. This chapter addresses the chemical contamination of foods, as opposed to microbiological contamination, which can be found under food-borne illness ( Food_contaminants). Contaminants are substances that have not been intentionally added to food. These substances may be present in food as a result of the various stages of its production, packaging, transport or holding. They also might result from environmental contamination. Since contamination generally has a negative impact on the quality of food and may imply a risk to human health, the EU has taken measures to minimize contaminants in foodstuffs. Community measures have been taken for the following contaminants: mycotoxins (aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, fusarium-toxins, patulin), metals (cadmium, lead, mercury, inorganic tin), dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), 3-mono-chloropropane-1, 2-diol (3-MCPD) and nitrates ( During their lifetime animals may be treated with medicines for prevention or cure of diseases. In food producing animals such as cattle, pigs, poultry and fish this may lead to residues of the substances used for the treatment in the food products derived from these animals (e.g. meat, milk, eggs). The residues should however not be harmful to the consumer. To guarantee a high level of consumer protection, Community legislation requires that the toxicity of potential residues is evaluated before the use of a medicinal substance in food producing animals is authorized. If considered necessary, maximum residue limits (MRLs) are established and in some cases the use of the relevant substance is prohibited (

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