April 2012 date set for introduction of EU-agreed rocket nitrate levels

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has confirmed that the new maximum nitrate levels for rocket - as agreed this summer by the European Commission - will become effective from 1 April 2012.

It has also confirmed that Europe-wide increases to some existing limits for nitrate levels in spinach and lettuce are expected to come into force later this year - after the new regulation is published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The new levels replace derogations, which allowed EU countries to decide their own limits.

Growers across Europe believed that the originally-proposed level of 6,000mg NO3/kg for rocket harvested in winter was unreasonable.

They went on to voice their concerns during a consultation exercise on the proposals that was launched by the FSA earlier this year.

After listening to the feedback, Europe's food safety standing committee agreed to increase the proposed level to 7,000mg/kg.


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