STC Number - 168

Maximum levels for aflatoxins in corn and sampling contaminants in food

Maintained by: European Union
Raised by: Argentina
Supported by:
First date raised: June 2003 G/SPS/R/30, paras. 32-33
Dates subsequently raised: October 2003 (G/SPS/R/31, paras. 52-53)
Number of times subsequently raised: 1
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 1005 Maize (corn).
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Food safety; Human health; Special and differential treatment
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In June 2003, Argentina reported that consultations between its authorities and the European Communities had taken place on 2 July concerning EC Regulation 257/02 which imposed new maximum levels for aflatoxins in maize. Argentina considered the new measures to be scientifically unfounded and requested the European Communities to consider less trade restrictive measures and the possibility of special and differential treatment. The European Communities noted that there were considerable health problems with aflatoxins and the difficulties of establishing an appropriate limit. The new regulation would be notified to the Committee before it was applied and interested trading partners would have the opportunity to present their concerns and objections. In response to a question from Egypt, the European Communities clarified that the new measure would apply only to maize.

In October 2003, Argentina stated that the MRL for aflatoxin depended on the intended use of products and the levels were not consistent with international recommendations nor based on scientific evidence. However, the new regulation modified the MRL for corn and was less restrictive. Argentina requested a review of the sampling levels along with the scientific justification to support the measure. The European Communities stated that it had conducted scientific research to support the MRLs adopted for corn and that the levels could be met through good agriculture practice. The MRL for corn was established to protect consumer health.