Court of Auditors Special Report no.2: Chemical hazards in our food: EU food safety policy protects us but faces challenges
1. The European Court of Auditors (ECA) is responsible for auditing the efficacy of EU policy. ECA recommendations are not binding on the European Commission. Pursuant to Article 287(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the ECA has issued a special report looking at the operation of the regulatory regimes underpinning chemical substances permitted to be added to or used in relation to food; and other chemical substances found in food, the presence of which needs to be managed. These substances are:
• food additives, flavourings, and enzymes, which perform a function in the food we eat e.g. to preserve, add colour/flavour, or aid fermentation;
• food contact materials e.g. kitchen equipment, packaging, cutlery etc. which are made from a variety of materials including metal, paper, plastic, wood, regenerated cellulose film, ceramics and rubber;
• residues of chemicals used in earlier stages in the production process e.g. from feed additives, veterinary medicines, or pesticides; and
• contaminants which can be naturally present such as arsenic in rice, or as a result of food processing e.g. acrylamide formation during cooking at high temperatures.