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Brussels, 16 February 2011

Food Safety: Commission urges Spain to transpose provisions of the Animal Feed Directive

The European Commission has asked Spain to notify national implementing measures as required by the Animal Feed Directive (2009/141/EC). The request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion" under EU infringement procedures. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may decide to refer Spain to the European Court of Justice.

Spain has not communicated the measures implementing Directive 2009/141/EC setting the maximum levels for undesirable substances in animal feed. "Undesirable substances" are substances or products in animal feed presenting potential danger to human health, animal health or the environment.

Human health and the environment are major policy concerns for the European Commission. To ensure consumers' confidence on the safety and quality of food and feed, undesirable substances in animal nutrition are prohibited or limited at certain levels. Healthy and high-quality livestock in all Member states depends, to a large extent, on the use of appropriate good quality feed. Rules on safe animal feed contribute to a more competitive EU producer and a citizen that is able to consume safe and good-quality products.

The Commission initiated an infringement procedure, described in Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, last year by sending a letter of formal notice to Spain. By sending of a "Reasoned Opinion", the Commission formally asks Spain to take action to comply with EU law within a period of two months. Subsequently, the Commission may decide to refer Spain to the European Court of Justice, if action to ensure compliance is not taken.


Directive 2009/141/EC establishes maximum limits for heavy metals such as arsenic, certain pesticides and botanical impurities in animal feed. It aims to keep safe food and animal feed across the EU. Member States were supposed to implement Directive 2009/141/EC by July 1, 2010, but Spain has failed to do so.

For more information on the infringement procedure, please see: MEMO/11/86

For more information on undesirable substances in animal nutrition legislation, please visit:

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