Lords question Eustice on fertiliser cadmium levels

Lords question Eustice on fertiliser cadmium levels

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The House of Lords European Union Committee has taken evidence from George Eustice, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at DEFRA on EU proposals to change the regulation of fertilisers. 

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The Committee asked Mr Eustice to clarify the Government’s position on the levels of cadmium – which it says can be damaging to the environment and human health – that should be allowed in fertilisers marketed in the EU.

The Committee said it had been corresponding with Mr Eustice on the EU proposal regarding the putting on the market of CE marked fertilisers since May last year but has been unable to secure satisfactory answers on the Government’s position regarding cadmium limits and the scientific assessments that underpin them, so the Committee asked Mr Eustice to provide clarity on the outstanding issues.

Questions included:

What is the current position of European Council on the issue and are there any substantial changes to the proposal?

Why does the Government favour a cadmium limit of 80mg/kg as opposed to 60mg/kg?

What scientific assessments if the impact and safe levels of cadmium are ongoing and how will this inform the negotiation through supplementary analysis? Are there concerns about limited data on this issue?

What assessment has the Food Standard Agency made of the risk of human exposure to cadmium-containing food or soil?

Is a precautionary approach to cadmium required given the gaps in the knowledge about safe levels and whether it is likely to end up in the food chain?

The EU proposed reducing cadmium limits from 60mg/kg to 40mg/kg after three years and to 20mg/kg after 12 years, with the aim of protecting the environment and public health.

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