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Brussels, 23rd May 2008

Commission to fix strict conditions for the import of Ukrainian sunflower oil

Following the contamination of sunflower oil with mineral oil, the European Commission adopted today a decision fixing strict conditions for the import of Ukrainian sunflower oil into the European Union and providing for the reassessment of the situation within a year.

On the basis of the decision, sunflower oil originating in, or consigned from, Ukraine shall not enter the EU unless a valid certificate and results of sampling and analysis for the presence of mineral oil accompany the sunflower oil consignments. The certificate shall be valid only if the oil’s sampling and analysis, and the certificate’s issuance, have taken place after the European Commission has assessed and formally accepted the control and certification system to be put in place by the Ukrainian authorities.

The Commission will inform the Member States about the provisions, and the control and certification system will be endorsed through the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH). The Member States shall take the appropriate measures to sample and analyse each consignment of sunflower oil presented for import from the Ukraine to ensure the sunflower oil does not contain levels of mineral oil that make it unfit for human consumption. They shall also inform the Commission of unfavourable results through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). Favourable results shall be reported to the Commission every three months.

From the moment the contamination was known and notified to the RASFF on the 23rd April the EC took all the necessary measures, and recommended to the MS to withdraw from the market the contaminated products. On the 16 of May the EC recommended to the MS not to import sunflower oil from Ukraine, pending sufficient guarantees from the Ukrainian authorities. On the basis of guarantees that we received and the need to ensure that imports respect the necessary safety measures, the EC took the present measure.

The Commission shall reassess the situation within one year at the latest.

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