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Parliamentary questions
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11 June 2021
Answer given by Ms Kyriakides
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001874/2021

1. The EU is a major importer of food and feed. All foods sold in the EU must be safe for consumption and comply with relevant EU regulations and standards, as highlighted in the Green Deal Communication and the Farm to Fork Strategy. Strict import rules with respect to food hygiene, animal and plant health status aim at assuring that all imports fulfill the same high level of health protection as products from the EU. Regulation (EC) No 178/2002(1) requires imported food to comply with EU food safety requirements and Member States must carry out controls in line with Regulation (EU) No 2017/625(2). Moreover, such food must comply with maximum residue levels of pesticides set in Regulation (EC) No 396/2005(3), which also provides concrete control measures by means of an EU-coordinated multiannual control programme and annual targeted, risk-based, national control programmes.

2. Regulation (EU) 2019/1793(4) lays down rules concerning the temporary increase of official border controls and special import conditions on certain food and feed of non-animal origin from certain third countries, including India. The Commission reviews these measures regularly in light of new information available on risks and non-compliance. It has strengthened its controls on sesamum seeds imported from India by way of a safeguard measure(5) adopted in October 2020, according to which, all consignments have to be accompanied by an official certificate and laboratory results for pesticide residues, including ethylene oxide, performed before export to the EU. They are also subject to checks at a frequency of 50% upon their entry into the EU. The Commission is engaged in regular exchanges with third countries, including Indian authorities and closely monitoring the situation.

(1)Article 11 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1)
(2)Chapter V of Title II of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products (OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, p. 1).
(3)Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC (OJ L 70, 16.3.2005, p. 1).
(4)Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 of 22 October 2019 on the temporary increase of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the Union of certain goods from third countries implementing Regulations (EU) 2017/625 and (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 277, 29.10.2019, p. 89).
(5)Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1540 of 22 October 2020 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 as regards sesamum seeds originating in India (OJ L 353, 23.10.2020, p. 4).
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