The German Cabinet has reportedly approved an action plan proposed by Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner that incorporates “tighter rules for dioxin checks into the Food and Feed Code (LFGB)” and proposes several statutory changes to feed production regulations. A response to dioxin-tainted animal feed that temporarily disrupted the European Union’s (EU’s) egg, poultry and pork supply, this early warning system will “enable the supervisory authorities in Germany to respond in a quicker and more targeted manner,” said Aigner, who has vowed “to promote these rules at EU-level. “
The new rules require German food and feed manufacturers “to report all test results on dioxins and similar problem substances to the competent authorities,” who will verify the information and act “immediately” if necessary, and directs private laboratories to “automatically report alarming measurement results of undesired substances that are hazardous to health in foods and animal feed.” According to the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV), regulators have, “for many years, been collecting data on the levels of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds in foods and animal feed,” but now this information and industry’s internal controls are “to be brought together in a joint data pool at the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit) in Berlin.” The office will evaluate this data each quarter in an effort to “instigate counter-measures more quickly.”
In addition, BMELV has announced plans to revise the statutory orders governing the approval of feed businesses and the separation of feed fats and industrial fats during production. The ministry has also committed to creating “binding positive list of feed materials… at EU level,” as well as amending the Consumer Information Act “to make it mandatory for the competent authorities to publish without delay the results they have from official food controls and inspection on all infringements that have occurred due to maximum limits being exceeded.” Cabinet ministers are still debating, however, whether “an infringement of the Food and Feed Code should be classified as either a criminal or a regulatory offence or whether the current range of penalties is still appropriate.” See BMELV Press Release, February 2, 2011.