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The Contaminants in Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

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PART 1Introductory

Citation and commencement

1.  These Regulations may be cited as the Contaminants in Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 and come into operation on 31st October 2013.

Interpretation

2.—(1) In these Regulations —

Directive 76/621” means Council Directive 76/621/EEC relating to the fixing of the maximum level of erucic acid in oils and fats intended as such for human consumption and in foodstuffs containing added oils or fats(1);

Directive 80/891” means Commission Directive 80/891/EEC relating to the Community method of analysis for determining the erucic acid content in oils and fats intended to be used as such for human consumption and in foodstuffs containing added oils or fats(2);

Regulation 1881/2006” means Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs(3);

Regulation 629/2008” means Commission Regulation (EC) No. 629/2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs(4);

Regulation 124/2009” means Commission Regulation (EC) No. 124/2009 setting maximum levels for the presence of coccidiostats or histomonostats in food resulting from the unavoidable carry-over of these substances in non-target feed(5);

Regulation 165/2010” means Commission Regulation (EU) No. 165/2010 amending Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs as regards aflatoxins(6); and

the Order” means the Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.

(2) Any other expression used in these Regulations and in Directive 76/621, Directive 80/891, Regulation 1881/2006 or Regulation 124/2009 has the same meaning in these Regulations as it bears in the Directive or Regulation concerned.

(3) Any reference to an EU instrument is a reference to it as amended at the date of making of these Regulations.

(4) Any reference to an Article of or Annex to Directive 76/621, Directive 80/891, Regulation 1881/2006 or Regulation 124/2009 is a reference to that Article or Annex as it may be amended from time to time.

(5) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(7) shall apply to these regulations as it applies to an Act of the Assembly.

PART 2Erucic acid in food

Scope

3.—(1) This Part applies to —

(a)oils, fats and mixtures of the two which are intended as such for human consumption;

(b)compound foodstuffs described directly or by implication as specially prepared for infants and young children, to which oils, fats or mixtures of the two have been added; and

(c)compound foodstuffs other than those described directly or by implication as specially prepared for infants and young children, to which oils, fats or mixtures of the two have been added and the overall fat content of which exceeds 5%.

(2) In paragraph (1) the expressions “infants” and “young children” have the meanings given to them in Article 2 of Commission Directive 2006/141/EC on infant formulae and follow-on formulae and amending Directive 1999/21/EC(8).

Controls on erucic acid

4.—(1) A person may not place on the market, for consumption by the final consumer, a product to which this Part applies in which the level of erucic acid exceeds 5%, calculated on the total level of fatty acids in the fat component.

(2) The level of erucic acid in a food is to be determined according to the methods of screening and analysis prescribed in Article 2 of and the Annex to Directive 80/891.

(3) Any person who contravenes paragraph (1) is guilty of an offence.

(4) In paragraph (1) “final consumer” means the ultimate consumer of a foodstuff who will not use the food as part of any food business operation or activity.

PART 3Contaminants in food

Controls on contaminants in food

5.—(1) Subject to the transitional arrangements contained in –

(a)Article 11 of Regulation 1881/2006;

(b)Article 2 of Regulation 629/2008; or

(c)Article 2 of Regulation 165/2010,

a person who contravenes or fails to comply with any of the EU provisions specified in paragraph (2) is guilty of an offence.

(2) The EU provisions are —

(a)Article 1(1) of Regulation 1881/2006 (prohibition on the placing on the market of foodstuffs containing contaminants in excess of prescribed limits contained in the Annex), as read with—

(i)Article 1(2) (maximum levels applying to edible part of food unless otherwise specified in the Annex),

(ii)Article 2 (provisions relating to the application of maximum levels to dried, diluted, processed and compound foodstuffs),

(iii)Article 4 (specific provisions for groundnuts, other oilseeds, tree nuts, dried fruit, rice and maize),

(iv)Article 6 (specific provisions for lettuce) and

(v)the Annex (maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs);

(b)Article 3 of Regulation 1881/2006 (prohibitions on use, mixing and detoxification);

(c)Article 5 of Regulation 1881/2006 (specific labelling requirements for groundnuts, other oilseeds, derived products thereof and cereals); and

(d)Article 1(1) of Regulation 124/2009 (prohibitions on marketing or mixing foods containing coccidiostats or histomonstats at levels in excess of prescribed limits), as read with Article 1(2).

PART 4Administration and enforcement

Penalties

6.  Anyone convicted of an offence under regulation 4(3) or regulation 5(1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

Enforcement and competent authorities

7.—(1) It is the duty of each district council within its district to execute and enforce —

(a)these regulations;

(b)Commission Regulation 1881/2006; and

(c)Commission Regulation 124/2009, save for the requirement in paragraph 2 of Article 1(1) of that Regulation (requirement to investigate the reasons for a finding of a significant residue level below the maximum).

(2) The competent authority for the purposes of Article 2(2) of Commission Regulation 1881/2006 (justification by food business operators of concentration or dilution factors) is the district council having the duty to enforce under paragraph (1).

(3) The competent authority for the purposes of paragraph 2 of Article 1(1) of Commission Regulation 124/2009 (requirement to investigate the reasons for a finding of a significant residue level below the maximum) is the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

(4) It is the duty of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to execute and enforce paragraph 2 of Article 1(1) of Commission Regulation 124/2009 (requirement to investigate the reasons for a finding of a significant residue level below the maximum).

Application of various Articles of the Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991

8.—(1) The following provisions of the Order apply for the purposes of these Regulations with the modification that any reference in those provisions to the Order or Part of it is to be construed as a reference to these Regulations —

(a)Article 4 (presumptions that food intended for human consumption);

(b)Article 19 (offences due to fault of another person);

(c)Article 20 (defence of due diligence) with the modification that—

(i)paragraphs (2) to (4) apply in relation to an offence under regulation 4(3) or 5(1) as they apply in relation to an offence under Article 13 or 14, and

(ii)in paragraph (4) the references to “sale” are deemed to include references to “placing on the market”;

(d)Article 30(8) (which relates to documentary evidence);

(e)Article 34(1) (obstruction etc. of officers);

(f)Article 34(2), with the modification that the reference to “any such requirement as is mentioned in paragraph (1)(b)” shall be deemed to be a reference to any such requirement as is mentioned in Article 34(1)(b) as applied by sub–paragraph (e);

(g)Article 36(1) (punishment of offences), in so far as it relates to offences under Article 34(1) as applied by sub–paragraph (e); and

(h)Article 36(2) and (3), in so far as it relates to offences under Article 34(2) as applied by sub–paragraph (f).

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), Article 8 of the Order (inspection and seizure of suspected food) applies for the purposes of these Regulations as if it read as follows —

8.(1) An authorised officer may at all reasonable times inspect any food intended for human consumption which has been placed on the market and paragraphs (2) to (7) shall apply where, on such an inspection, it appears to the authorised officer that the placing on the market of any food fails to comply with the requirements specified in regulation 4(1) or 5(2) of the Contaminants in Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 (“the EU requirements”).

(2) The authorised officer may either —

(a)give notice to the person in charge of the food that, until the notice is withdrawn, the food or any specified portion of it —

(i)is not to be used for human consumption, and

(ii)either is not to be removed or is to be removed to a place at which there are facilities to carry out sampling in the manner required by law; or

(b)seize the food and remove it in order to have it dealt with by a justice of the peace.

(3) Where the authorised officer gives notice under paragraph (2)(a), that officer shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any event within 21 days, determine whether or not the food complies with the EU requirements and —

(a)if satisfied that it does comply, shall forthwith withdraw the notice;

(b)if not so satisfied, shall seize the food and remove it in order to have it dealt with by a justice of the peace.

(4) Where an authorised officer seizes and removes food under paragraph (2)(b) or (3)(b), the officer shall inform the person in charge of the food of the intention to have it dealt with by a justice of the peace and —

(a)any person who in connection with any of the EU requirements might be liable to a prosecution in respect of the food shall, if that person attends before the justice of the peace by whom the food falls to be dealt with, be entitled to be heard and to call witnesses; and

(b)that justice of the peace may, but need not, be a member of the court before which any person is proceeded against for an offence in connection with any of the EU requirements in relation to that food.

(5) If it appears to a justice of the peace, on the basis of such evidence as the justice considers appropriate in the circumstances, that any food falling to be dealt with under this Article fails to comply with any of the EU requirements the justice shall condemn the food and order —

(a)the food to be destroyed or to be so disposed of as to prevent it from being used for human consumption; and

(b)any expenses reasonably incurred in connection with the destruction or disposal to be defrayed by the owner of the food.

(6) If a notice under paragraph (2)(a) is withdrawn, or the justice of the peace by whom any food falls to be dealt with under this Article refuses to condemn it, the district council or, as the case may be, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, shall compensate the owner of the food for any depreciation in its value resulting from the action taken by the authorised officer.

(7) Any disputed question as to the right to or the amount of any compensation payable under paragraph (6) shall be determined by arbitration.

(8) Any person who knowingly contravenes the requirements of a notice under paragraph (2)(a) shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale..

Consequential amendment

9.  In the Food Safety (Sampling and Qualifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013(9), in Schedule 1 (provisions to which those Regulations do not apply) for “The Contaminants in Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010”(10) in column 1 substitute “The Contaminants in Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013” and in column 2 for the reference “S.R. 2010 No. 335” substitute the reference to these regulations.

Revocations

10.  The following Regulations are revoked —

(a)The Mineral Hydrocarbons in Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1966(11);

(b)The Erucic Acid in Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1977(12);

(c)The Erucic Acid in Food (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1982(13); and

(d)The Contaminants in Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety on 23rd September 2013.

Legal seal

Andrew McCormick

A senior officer of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

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