On May 3rd the European Food Safety Authority has decreed (1) the grave danger – for the younger population especially – of carcinogenic and genotoxic contaminants in the palm fat consumed in great amounts. On May 10th Great Italian Food Trade published the ‘Palma-Leaks’ (2), food multinationals have been well aware of the health risks linked to the palm since 2004 but even so they increased its use, rather than banning it. Today, from the secret corridors of power in Brussels, another ‘leak’ of hideous news. Let’s see what it is all about.
We have received and we are publishing excerpts of ‘EU sources’ about the outcome of the meeting organized by the European Commission with Member States representatives to address the emergency ‘of palm toxicity’:
– The ‘Industrial and Environmental Committee’ group of experts, i.e. the ‘Toxicological Safety of the Food Chain’ section – as part of the so called ‘Standing Committee on Plants, Animals Food and Feed’ – has received a presentation by a representative of EFSA, concerning the scientific assessment on the risks to human health associated with 3-MCPD, 2-MCPD esters and glycols in foods,
– The group of experts has agreed that the European regulatory measures to limit the presence of these contaminants in foods are ‘appropriate to ensure a high level of human health protection’ (?),
– the spokespeople of the national governments and of the Commission (DG Santé, sigh!) have also presumably amused themselves in an ‘initial exchange of views on possible options for risk management measures’. They seem to have then presented a ” calendar attempt “ for the debates on this issue,
– The next meeting of the ‘committee of experts’ should take place in the second half of June, ‘probably’.
There are more communication flaws regarding ‘palm risk’ from the Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who should be theoretically in charge of protecting European consumers.
“To think the worst of someone is a sin, but usually you are spot on” wisely stated by one of the protagonists of Italian politics of the last century (3). It appears to be legitimate to suspect the connivance of the authorities delegated to the protection of public health with the unusual ‘clique’ of the great palm-users of the food industry and of the Asian producers of tropical fat. Which could also explain the apparent tranquility of their lobbies (4) in the aftermath of the EFSA opinion.
In our own little world, we are rooting for the safeguarding of public health that should follow the criteria established in Europe with the so called ‘General Food Law’ (Reg. EC 178/02).