Amendments made to oil and fat technical regulation, including first step in rationing of glycidyl ethers in food products

The meeting of the Eurasian Economic Commission's Council held on December 12, adopted some amendments to the Customs Union's Technical Regulation "Technical regulation on oil and fat products". The amendments were elaborated by the Russian party – the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation.

They clarify certain provisions of the said technical regulation as regards definitions of edible oil and fat products, requirements to marking, processes of their production and transportation, as well as eliminate ambiguous interpretation of the technical regulation norms.

In particular, some requirements are defined to the process and conditions of shipment (transportation) of edible oil and fat products, including the use of vehicles intended for bulk transportation of oil and fat products. Lists of permitted and prohibited previous cargoes for the bulk transportation of edible oil and fat products by water transport are established.

The requirements to mandatory processing of vegetable oils after their transportation in bulk by water transport are also defined, which will ensure the safety of all types of edible oil and fat products. 

Furthermore, in order to improve the safety of edible oil and fats products, the rationing of permissible limit for contaminant "glycidyl esters of fatty acids in terms of glycidol" is introduced. This issue is of great social importance, since in recent years some data have been accumulated on the presence of glycidyl esters of fatty acids in vegetable oils and products containing them and their negative impact on health. These substances are technological contaminants and can be formed in all vegetable oils during high-temperature processing. Along with that, technological solutions, enabling to prevent the formation of glycidyl ethers or reduce their content in vegetable oils, have been developed and implemented. 

Glycidol, a glycidyl ester hydrolysate, has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a possible genotoxic carcinogen (Group 2A). It is also said to be neurotoxic and cancerogenic, and carcinogens are known to cause cancer.

To date, the EAEU States' legislation and the Union's technical regulations have not established mandatory requirements to the content of glycidyl ethers in food products.

In 2019, the Uniform sanitary requirements were supplemented with norms on the content of glycidyl esters of fatty acids in oil and fat products and certain types of baby food to harmonize their rationing with the European practice (Decision No. 132 of the Commission's Board dated August 6, 2019). These norms will come into effect after making relevant amendments to the Union's technical regulations in the field of food products.

The EEC Council's adoption of the amendments is the first step in the rationing of glycidyl ethers in food products.

The amendments to the technical regulation on oil and fat products shall come into effect after one year has elapsed from the date of official publication of the EEC Council's decision on making the amendments.

For reference

The Customs Union's Technical Regulation "Technical regulation on oil and fat products" (TR CU 024/2011) was adopted by Decision No. 883 of the Customs Union Commission dated December 9, 2011 and came into effect on July 1, 2013.