The need to guarantee to the European consumers "total security of the animal and human food chain" as outlined in the new Directive's explanatory memorandum, was agreed at the Agriculture Councils in June and July 1999, during which the Commission put forward a work programme containing measures aiming to adapt the legislation of animal foodstuffs. The programme was also submitted to the European Parliament on several occasions. The present proposal answers one of the points raised by the work programme. The range of products and substances restricted by maximum levels includes: arsenic, lead, mercury, DDT, dioxin, fluorine, nitrates and some mustards, but also biological impurities like apricots and bitter almonds (see Annexed list)."Preventative measures at all stages".David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said that in the wake of the dioxin crisis earlier this year, it was an important step. "We are proposing legislative measures to avoid dilution of highly contaminated feed materials and to delete the possibility of derogation of maximum levels of undesirable substances and products in feed materials and feeding stuffs. This proposal foresees also an action threshold, which will result in an active reduction of the presence of contaminants in the feed and food chain. Overall, this proposal will enhance the safety of feed, obliging operators to take and apply preventative measures at all stages of the feed production chain", he said.--It is impossible to eliminate undesirable substances or products in all circumstances, but the Commission wants to incite the Member States to reduce their levels so as to avoid the undesirable or harmful effects.Council Directive 74/63 (December 17 1973) relating to the setting of maximum levels of undesirable substances and products in animal foodstuffs...

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