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EU Biocides Regulation - a public health concern? Questions and answers

The UK food industry and consumer stakeholder groups have launched a co-ordinated campaign to seek a change to the European Commission&;s (EC&;s) new Biocidal Products Regulation, which, as currently constituted, would limit the availability of effective cleaning chemicals and pose a serious threat to food hygiene and safety.

A group has been set up to argue against restrictions by the EC on the use of a number of biocides disinfectants and sanitisers widely used by the food industry. It is also very concerned about much tougher maximum residue levels (MRLs) for chlorates.

Chlorates in food arise from the chlorination of water to make it safe to drink, and the use of chlorine-based biocides, including household bleach. In this context they have not entered the food chain as pesticides, but as sanitisers or disinfectants. Even chlorinated water used on crop irrigation will affect chlorate levels in produce.

Under EU Regulation 396/2005 chlorate is classified as a pesticide although it is no longer approved for such use. An MRL of 0.01 mg of chlorate per kilogram of food applies. The EC is proposing new levels which will be consulted upon during 2016 which could result in the levels being dropped to the limit of detection. The group is concerned that this would seriously impact human health, increasing the pathogen risk from farm to fork.


Author: British Hospitality Association

Download File: Biocides - regulations QandA.pdf

Published: 28/04/2016

Publication Type: Factsheet

Publisher: British Hospitality Association