Radioactive Contamination

Council Regulation (Euratom) 3954/87 (OJ L371, p11, 30/12/1987) of 22 December 1987 laying down maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination of foodstuffs and of feedingstuffs following a nuclear accident or any other case of radiological emergency

Amended by

Consolidated version of  Regulation (Euratom) 3954/87   ( as at 25 July 1989)

Implementing Measures

  • Commission Regulation (Euratom) 944/89 (OJ L101, p17, 13/04/1989) of 12 April 1989 laying down maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination in minor foodstuffs foll owing a nuclear accident or any other case of radiological activity
  • Council Directive (Euratom) 89/618 (OJ L357, p31, 07/12/89) of 27 November 1989 on informing the general public about health protection measures to be applied and steps to be taken in the event of a radiological emergency
  • Commission Regulation (EEC) 2219/89 (OJ L211, p4, 22/07/89 ) of 18 July 1989 on the special conditions for exporting foodstuffs and feedingstuffs following a nuclear accident or any other case of radiological activity

Council Decision 87/600/Euratom (OJ L371, p76, 30/12/87 ) of 14 December 1987 on Community arrangements for early exchange of information in the event of a radiological emergency

Commission Regulation 770/90/Euratom (OJ L83, p78, 30/03/90) of 29 March 1990 laying down maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination of feedingstuffs following a nuclear accident or any other case of radiological emergency

Chernobyl nuclear power station

Council Regulation (EC) No 733/2008 (OJ L201, p1, 30/07/2008 ) of 15 July 2008 on the conditions governing imports of agricultural products originating in third countries following the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station

Amended by

Consolidated version  Regulation (EC) No 733/2008  ( as at 7th November 2009)

Commission Recommendation 2003/274/Euratom of 14 April 2003 (OJ L99, p55, 17/04/2003) on the protection and information of the public with regard to exposure resulting from the continued radioactive caesium contamination of certain wild food products as a consequence of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station

Corrected by

  • Corrigendum (OJ L109, p27, 01/05/2003) to Commission Recommendation 2003/274/EC of 14 April 2003 on the protection and information of the public with regard to exposure resulting from the continued radioactive caesium contamination of certain wild food products as a consequence of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station (OJ L 99, p55, 17/04/2003)

National Legislation

Under the Radiological Protection Act , the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) was established. Their functions include the responsibility to monitor activity or ionising radiation levels in any thing in the State and in any waters, including international waters surrounding the State. In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, they will monitor any activity or ionising radiation levels in individuals, animals, fauna, poultry, eggs, crops, fish, seaweed, or any food, soil, minerals (including rocks of all descriptions), air, or water. The RPII merged with the EPA in 2014.

The Act gives power to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government following consultation with other Ministers, to prescribe by regulation levels of radioactivity in water and any food. The Act further provides that, where Regulations have been made either under the Act or by the European Council or Commission, any food which contains radioactivity in excess of that prescribed, shall be deemed to be unfit in accordance with the Health Act, 1947.

The Act also allows for various Ministers to control or restrict harvesting, movement, sales of foods, the slaughter of animals, the use of feedingstuffs or the destruction of food and animals in the event of radiological emergency.

To date, all of the controls in Ireland are directed by European legislation. Maximum levels of radioactivity in foods have been set, controls are in place for imported and exported foods, and the procedures to be followed in the event of a radiological emergency are all governed by EU legislation.

Current Controls

In the event of a future nuclear accident, the Commission is empowered by Council to make a Regulation to give effect to maximum permitted levels of radioactivity for foodstuffs and feedingstuffs, which may be placed on the market. Levels for baby foods, dairy produce, other foodstuffs except minor foodstuffs, liquid foodstuffs and feedingstuffs are set out in  Regulation 3954/87 . Minor foodstuffs are covered by Regulation 944/89. The levels for feedingstuffs are set out in Regulation 770/90 . These levels are also applied to the export of foodstuffs and feedingstuffs.

 Council Regulation (EC) No 733/2008  requires that for the release for free circulation of the the products listed in the Regulation, such products must be in compliance with the maximum permitted levels
laid down in the Regulation.

Council Regulation (EC) No 733/2008 shall expire:

  • on 31 March 2020, unless the Council decides otherwise at an earlier date, in particular if the list of excluded products referred to in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No. 733/2008 covers all the products fit for human consumption to which the Regulation applies;
  • upon the entry into force of the Commission Regulation referred to in Article 2(1) of Regulation (Euratom) No 3954/87, if such entry into force takes place before 31 March 2020

If, in the event of a radiological emergency, one Member State takes measures to protect the general public they must notify the Commission of the action taken. The information must include the nature and time of the event, its exact location and the nature of the facility or activity involved, the cause, the foreseeable development and the protective measures taken or planned. Other Member States that may be affected are required to advise the Commission of the levels of radioactivity measured by their monitoring facilities in foodstuffs, feedingstuffs, drinking water and the environment.

Last reviewed: 5/8/2015

Food Supplements

Supplements

Food Labelling

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