Decreto-Lei n.º 120/2011
- Emissor:Ministério da Agricultura, do Mar, do Ambiente e do Ordenamento do Território
- Tipo de Diploma:Decreto-Lei
- Páginas:5422 - 5453
Summary in plain english (Without legal value)
What is it?
This decree-law introduces into the Portuguese law the European Directive 2011/3/EU, which defines the purity standards and sources of the food colouring lycopene (E 160d).
Lycopene is a natural pigment found in red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, watermelons and red peppers.
What will change?
Until now, only lycopene extracted from red tomatoes could be used in food. It is now possible to use artificially produced lycopene (synthetic) and lycopene extracted from certain fungi (Blakeslea trispora).
This decree-law also establishes new purity standards, based on recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority. In Portugal, the violation of these standards will be punished.
The new rules clearly define which heavy metals are permitted in lycopene and in what amounts.
The lead content allowed in lycopene extracted from red tomatoes is reduced from ten milligrams to two milligrams per kilogram of food colour. For the two new sources of lycopene the limit is one milligram.
Dichloromethane is no longer used to extract lycopene
Previously, dichloromethane (methylene chloride) was used as a chemical solvent to extract lycopene from red tomatoes. However, lycopene manufacturers no longer use it and so it can be taken off the extraction-solvent list.
Extraction solvents are chemicals used to separate components from foodstuffs.
Monitoring guarantees the quality of food
The Authority for Economic and Food Safety and the services of the autonomous regions (Azores and Madeira) ensure compliance with this decree-law. They may charge fines of:
- 100 to 3 740 euros, for individuals
- 1 000 to 44 890 euros, for companies.
Depending on the seriousness of the matter, other actions may be taken:
- establishments that require permits may be closed or have their permits suspended
- a person or company may be forbidden from starting an activity that requires a license or a permit
- offenders may have their subsidies and other benefits denied or taken back
- offenders may be forbidden to attend markets and fairs
- offenders may be prevented from participating in public auctions or tenders for supplying goods, providing services, awarding public service concession.
What are its benefits?
This decree-law regulates the production of lycopene from new sources and establishes new purity standards for all lycopene used as a food colour in order to ensure its safety.
When does it come into effect?
This decree-law comes into effect five days after it is published.