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The Food and Biocides Industry Group (FBIG) works to ensure that legislation does not impact negatively on the availability of effective disinfectants which are vital to assure food hygiene through the food chain. FPC is one of the 20 UK trade and professional organisations which make up the group.
FBIG has developed guidance on the use of biocides in cleaning and disinfection which is being used by the Global Food Safety Initiative. The group has lobbied both UK and European authorities to seek a pragmatic assessment of the review of Maximum Residues Levels for chlorate and also for future regulation of biocidal products.
Food safety is paramount and the group believes it should not be compromised. It is vital that the food and drink industry continues to have access to effective disinfectants to assure food hygiene throughout the supply chain.
Food poisoning outbreaks are rare in the UK which has, for example, consistently lower levels of listeriosis compared with other European countries. The combination of Good Agricultural Practices, hygienic preparation and packaging minimise the potential for contamination, and the use of biocides plays an essential role in maintaining high standards of food hygiene, as required by law.
Water chlorination is a primary public health control measure internationally. In the fresh produce industry it is used to maintain the hygiene of washwater to prevent it becoming a source of contamination.
The review of the EU Drinking Water Directive in 2017 included adding new and emerging substances to the list of criteria for determining water safety (such as Legionella and chlorate). The proposal included setting a level for chlorate and chlorite at 0.025 mg per litre. At the same time the European Commission re-tabled proposed Maximum Residues Levels for chlorate residues in foodstuffs. A consultation with stakeholders is anticipated in 2019. Any changes to the MRLs for chlorate in fresh produce need to take account of the use of chlorinated potable water.