PositionEuropean Union - Brief Article

Over the period covered by the report (September 2000 to December 2001), the Commission notes that only six Member States had licensed units for the irradiation of foods on their territory (Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). However, four of these Member States had still not transposed the Directive onto national statutes when the enquiry was conducted. The Directive was only transposed into national legislation by all the Member States in June 2002. Owing to this delay in transposition, it was not possible during the period covered by the report to conduct all the controls required under the Directive. Individual reports from the Member States indicate that all the units in question will comply with the majority of the Directive's provisions. However, the accuracy of these reports varies considerably. The Commission has decided in future to draw up precise instructions to ensure that reports are drafted according to a harmonised format.

Eight Member States (Austria, Germany, Finland, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom) have conducted controls on foods placed on the market. The Commission report notes that the types of food sampled were not the same in all the Member States. The results show that in general, only a few irradiated products are marketed without labelling bearing the indication "irradiated" (about 0.5%), notably herbs, spices, foods containing herbs and spices, pink shrimps, prawns and vegetables. However, in the United Kingdom, the authorities discovered that 42% of certain food supplements on the market had been irradiated. The majority of these products are not very common (aleo vera, luzerne, cat's claw, devil's claw, garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, guarana, kava kava, cabbage palm, silymarin and curcuma). Given that the ionisation of the majority of these products is not authorised in the European Union, the other Member States have been asked to check the sector to ensure compliance with the Directive's provisions.

--The Directive 1999/2 on the convergence of Member States' laws on food and food ingredients treated with ionising radiation became applicable on September 20, 2000. Since March 20, 2001, all irradiated foods on the market have to comply with the requirements of the Directive. In pursuance of Article 7, paragraph 3, the Member States have to forward the Commission every year: the results of checks carried out...

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