Update on Disinfectant MRL’s

During 2015 the most common class of disinfectants used in the food and dairy industry came under legislative control through the imposition of a Maximum Residual Level (MRL) for the Quaternary Ammonium Compounds ( QAC’s) of 0.1 mg/kg for a range of foods (excluding fish). This legislation is enforced in the UK by the Health & Safety Executive and has been made under pesticide regulations (396/2005 (as amended)) and is being applied to both commodity food and any complex food assembled from those commodities – for example sandwiches and ready meals.

Further work is under way across the EU to set MRL’s for other biocides which come into contact with food with a control on Chlorate being the next biocide likely to be affected. Chlorate is formed as a by-product when using chlorine, chlorine dioxide, hypochlorite or in-situ generated hypochlorus acid for the disinfection of drinking water, water for food production and surfaces coming into contact with food. Chlorination of animal-derived food is not allowed in the EU, while washing of plant-derived food with chlorine disinfected water can be permitted under national regulations – for example salad and vegetable washing. A consultation process will be beginning in the coming weeks to establish the most effective management of this MRL whilst not compromising food safety standards and still achieving microbiologically safe food. As part of this process, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have already issued decision papers to exclude Hydrogen Peroxide and Peracetic Acid from the MRL establishment process due to their breakdown products and the lack of detectable residues.
Klenzan is working with the Chilled Food Association, Dairy UK and other industry stakeholders along with the Health & Safety Executive and Food Standards Agency to influence this process and ensure that safe decontamination of food can be achieved. For further information, please contact your Klenzan Technical Sales Manager or info@klenzan.co.uk