Consumer Health Considerations in EEC Legislation
None of the EEC legislation promulgated either as Directives or Regulations by the Council of Ministers following proposals by the Commission of the European Communities deals directly with consumer protection as does the UK Consumer Protection Act of 1961. Nor has the Commission ever proposed a general Directive on the lines of the UK Food and Drugs Act of 1955 with its built-in provisions for protecting the consumer against defraudation and injury to his health. There are, however, numerous instances to be found among the constituent articles of the various Directives issued by the Council of Ministers of the EEC in the food field which deal specifically with health considerations affecting the consumer.
In the area of food additives, health protection of the consumer is provided by the positive list system, on which the Council Directives on various food additives are based. Another aspect of health protection to be discussed is exemplified by the inclusion of strict specifications for individual substances listed. These specifications limit the concentrations of certain unavoidable but toxic contaminants in the additive. Health considerations are involved more indirectly in the deliberations of the Scientific Committees acting as advisory bodies to the Commission. Here, discussion will cover the ejforts to generate generally acceptable guidelines for the toxicological testing of chemicals and to establish acceptable daily intakes for food additives and contaminants.
The most recent example of health protection by controlling food contamination is the Directive relating to materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs. Some other areas involving health considerations, e.g. microbiological and nutritional standards and specific additive labelling, will be briefly discussed as examples of future EEC legislative activity.
KeywordsFood Additive Erucic Acid Council Directive Scientific Committee Health Protection
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