COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2021/1317 of 9 August 2021 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels of lead in certain foodstuffs

1. Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 establishes maximum levels for certain contaminants in foods and is part of the retained EU Law in Great Britain (GB). Maximum levels for lead are already established for some foods in this legislation. Regulation (EU) 2021/1317 is amending maximum levels of lead for foods such as offal, food for infants and young children and fruit and vegetables whilst also introducing maximum levels for salt and spices.
2. Article 12 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland requires the implementation and application of the provisions of Union law made applicable by the Protocol to and in the UK in respect of Northern Ireland. Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishes the aforementioned maximum levels pursuant to Article 2(3) of Council Regulation (EEC) No, 315/93. Council Regulation (EEC) No 315/93 is a provision of Union law listed in Annex 2 of the Protocol and Article 6(3) of the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement provides that references to provisions of Union law made applicable by the Agreement shall be understood to include references to the relevant Union acts supplementing or implementing those provisions. Therefore Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 falls within scope of Annex 2 of the Protocol and amendments to that Regulation will directly apply in Northern Ireland. As this amending Regulation came into force after 1 January 2021, it does not apply within the territory of GB.
3. Lead is a heavy metal present in the environment and can therefore result in residues in food as a result of uptake from the soil. There is no agreed safe level for lead intake, with independent scientific expert groups advising that exposure to lead should be reduced as far as possible. Maximum levels are set at a level which is as low as reasonably achievable following good agricultural, fishery and manufacturing practices and taking into account the risk related to the consumption of the food.

Topic  Food Standards 
Department  FSA 
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Associated file(s)


  1. Commission Regulation 2021/1317 - 401 KB - pdf
  2. EM Unnumbered Document - 202 KB - pdf

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