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February 19, 2014

EP Committee Rejects Regulation Concerning Definition of Engineered Nanomaterials in Food

Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 12, 2014, the European Parliament (EP) Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety rejected a proposed regulation that would define “engineered nanomaterials” in food. According to the Committee, the definition could lead to existing nanomaterials not being labeled due to an exemption provided for food additives approved on a European Union (EU) list. The Committee’s resolution notes that, under Article 18(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on Food Information to Consumers, “all food ingredients present in the form of engineered nanomaterials have to be clearly indicated in the list of food ingredients to ensure consumer information.” According to the Committee, the Regulation does not distinguish between existing and new nanomaterials, but “explicit[l]y requires labelling of all ingredients present in the form of engineered nanomaterials.” The resolution also criticizes the proposed regulation’s size distribution threshold of 50 percent, stating that a threshold of ten percent “would be more appropriate, subject to a review.” The EP will vote on the resolution during the February 24-27, 2014, plenary session.

The European Commission (EC) published the proposed regulation as a delegated regulation in the December 19, 2013, Office Journal of the European Union, and then, on December 20, 2013, published a notice declaring it “null and void.” The withdrawal of the amendment was the result of a procedural error by the EC.