The European Union has begun discussions to expand the group of products subject to a maximum level for Ochratoxin A (OTA) to include cocoa powder and a range of other products.
Maximum levels have been proposed for further discussion. Any comment on the proposals – including data that stakeholders might have on OTA levels – would be welcomed by the EU. The proposal will be discussed further and once agreement has been reached, will be included in the legislation for contaminants in food.
A report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) said that earlier this year the EU started to discuss the setting of maximum levels for OTA in products that are not covered by the scope of the existing EU contaminants legislation, but in which OTA was found in recent years.
Maximum levels (MLs) have been in place for OTA in foodstuffs such as cereals, dried vine fruit, coffee and some spices for several years.
Recently, high levels of OTA were found in some other foods. In response to these findings, the European Commission has proposed setting MLs for these commodities, by evaluating some occurrence data for these foods.
Among the MLs proposed for further discussion is a level of 2 µg/kg in cocoa powder.
The proposal will be discussed further and once agreement has been reached, will be included in the legislation for contaminants in food.
For more information see the forthcoming January 2018 issue of Coffee & Cocoa International.