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EU Legislation

Following the large outbreak in France and Germany of Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli in May 2011, consumption of sprouts was identified as the most likely origin of the outbreaks. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) adopted a Scientific Opinion in the wake of the outbreak on the risk posed by Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli and other pathogenic bacteria in seeds and sprouted seeds. It concluded that the contamination of dry seeds with bacterial pathogens is the most likely initial source of the sprout-associated outbreaks and that due to the high humidity and the favourable temperature during sprouting, bacterial pathogens present on dry seeds can multiply during sprouting and result in a public health risk. In order to mitigate the identified risks, it was considered necessary to introduce additional requirements for sprouting seeds. This has resulted in a suite of measures in the form of four new Commission Regulations to cover the import, traceability, microbiological criteria and approval of establishments producing sprouts:

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 208/2013 (OJ L 68, p16, 12/03/2013) of 11 March 2013 on traceability requirements for sprouts and seeds intended for the production of sprouts.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 209/2013 (OJ L 69, p19, 12/03/2013) of 11 March 2013 amending Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 of 15 November 2005 as regards microbiological criteria for sprouts and the sampling rules for poultry carcases and fresh poultry meat.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 210/2013 (OJ L 68, p28, 12/03/2013) of 11 March 2013 on the approval of establishments producing sprouts pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 211/2013 (OJ L 68, p26, 12/03/2013) of 11 March 2013 on certification requirements for imports into the Union of sprouts and seeds intended for the production of sprouts.