Tag Archives: Product quality

Bathing water quality

Bathing water quality

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Bathing water quality

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Water protection and management

Bathing water quality

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2006/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 February 2006 concerning the management of bathing water quality and repealing Directive 76/160/EEC.

SUMMARY

The European Union (EU) is committed to protecting environmental quality and human health. This Directive therefore strengthens the rules guaranteeing bathing water quality *. It supplements Directive 2000/60/EC on water protection and management.

The Directive does not apply to swimming pools or spa pools, or to artificially created confined waters, subject to treatment or used for therapeutic purposes.

Monitoring of bathing water

Each year, the Member States shall identify the bathing waters in their territory and define the length of the bathing season.

They shall establish monitoring at the location most used by bathers or where the risk of pollution is greatest. Monitoring shall take place by means of sampling:

  • four samples, including one before the start of the bathing season;
  • three samples only if the seasons does not exceed eight weeks or if the region is subject to special geographical constraints.

Member States shall communicate the results of their monitoring to the Commission with a description of the water quality management measures. Monitoring may be suspended exceptionally once the Commission has been informed.

Determining bathing water quality

Water quality is assessed on the basis of microbiological data defined according to the parameters described in Annex I. Member States shall then establish a classification of waters of poor, sufficient, good or excellent quality. This classification shall comply with the criteria set out in Annex II.

All bathing waters in the EU must be at least of sufficient quality by the end of the 2015 bathing season. Furthermore, Member States are to take the necessary measures to improve the number of bathing waters of good or excellent quality.

If quality is poor, Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to manage and eliminate pollution, and to protect and inform bathers.

Bathing water profile

The Directive provides for profiles to be established to identify possible pollution, for one or more than one contiguous bathing waters. In particular, they comprise an assessment of:

  • the physical, geographical and hydrological characteristics of the bathing water and of other surface waters in the catchment area;
  • pollution and sources thereof;
  • management measures.

These profiles must be established by 24 March 2011.

Exceptional measures

Member States shall adopt exceptional measures if unexpected situations deteriorate the quality of waters or represent a risk to bathers’ health.

Appropriate monitoring must also be implemented if there is a risk of proliferation of algae. The authorities responsible must therefore:

  • take management measures and provide information immediately if a proliferation of cyanobacteria (or “blue algae”) occurs;
  • assess the health risks if there is a proliferation of macro-algae and/or marine phytoplankton.

Transboundary waters

Member States shall exchange information and take joint action if a river basin * extends over several territories.

Information to the public

National authorities shall enable the public to obtain information and to participate in water quality management. Citizens may therefore make suggestions, remarks or complaints. They may also participate in the establishment, review and updating of lists of water quality.

Moreover, Member States shall ensure that adequate information is disseminated actively and is easily available during the bathing season. This concerns in particular:

  • the classification of water, prohibitions or advice against bathing;
  • a general description of the water in non-technical language;
  • a description of the nature and duration of pollution.

Context

This Directive shall repeal Directive 76/2006/EEC by 31 December 2014.

Key terms
  • Bathing water: any element of surface water where the national authorities of a Member State expect a large number of people to bathe or have not imposed a permanent bathing prohibition, or issued permanent advice against bathing.
  • River basin: area from which all surface run-off flows through a sequence of streams, rivers and, possibly, lakes into the sea at a single river mouth, estuary or delta.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2006/7/EC

24.3.2006

24.3.2008

OJ L 64 of 4.3.2006


Another Normative about Bathing water quality

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Environment > Water protection and management

Bathing water quality (until 2014)

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 76/160/EEC of 8 December 1975 concerning the quality of bathing water [See amending acts].

Summary

This Directive concerns the quality of bathing water in the Member States of the European Union (EU). It concerns those waters in which bathing is authorised by the national authorities and regularly practised by a significant number of bathers. This Directive does not apply to water intended for therapeutic purposes, or to water used in swimming pools.

It lays down the minimum quality criteria to be met by bathing water. They relate to:

  • the limit values of substances considered to be indicators of pollution (in the Annex);
  • the minimum sampling frequency and method of analysis or inspection of such water (in the Annex).

Member States may fix more stringent values than the criteria laid down in the Directive. In addition, where it does not give any values for certain substances, Member States are not obliged to fix any.

Water quality assessment

Sampling is carried out by Member States at different intervals for each polluting substance (in the Annex). Samples are taken at places where the daily average density of bathers is highest. Sampling begins two weeks before the start of the bathing season. The water testing must be adapted to the geographical and topographical conditions and to the presence of existing or potential polluting discharges.

Non-compliance

Where the waters do not conform to the parameters of the Directive, Member States may not authorise bathing in them before they have taken the necessary measures to improve the water quality. They have a period of ten years after notification of the Directive for the quality of the water to conform to the set limit values.

However, under certain conditions, bathing water is deemed to conform to the relevant parameters, even if a certain percentage of samples taken during the bathing season do not conform to the limit values. Derogations to the Directive are possible, provided that they meet the objective of protecting public health.

In addition, the consequences of floods, natural disasters or abnormal weather conditions are not taken into consideration when determining the water quality.

Monitoring Committee

A Committee on adaptation to technical progress enables the measures for improving water quality to be adapted. It consists of representatives from the Member States and is chaired by a representative of the Commission.

Context

This is repealed by Directive 2006/7/EC with effect from 31 December 2014. However, it still applies in Member States where transposition of the new Directive is not finished.

The review of bathing water legislation is designed to ensure consistency with the Sixth Environment Action Programme, the Sustainable Development Strategy and the Water Framework Directive. It is also intended to simplify procedures in the light of scientific developments and improve participatory processes for the actors concerned and the information given to the public.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 76/160/EEC

10.12.1975

10.12.1977

OJ L 31, 5.2.1976

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 91/692/EEC

23.12.1991

1.1.1993

OJ L 377, 31.12.1991

Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008

11.12.2008

OJ L 311, 21.11.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 76/160/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purpose only.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 21 December 2000: Developing a new bathing water policy [COM(2000) 860 final – Not published in Official Journal].
The Communication sets out the strengths and weaknesses of the management of bathing water quality, and proposes various approaches to drafting a new directive to take account of technical progress in the field.

Commission Decision 92/446/EEC of 27 July 1992 concerning questionnaires relating to Directives in the water sector [Official Journal L 247 of 27.8.1992].
This Decision draws up the outlines of questionnaires needed to monitor the implementation of and compliance with the provisions of all Directives in the water sector, including Directive 76/160/EEC.

Quality of petrol and diesel fuels: sulphur and lead

Quality of petrol and diesel fuels: sulphur and lead

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Quality of petrol and diesel fuels: sulphur and lead

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Air pollution

Quality of petrol and diesel fuels: sulphur and lead

Document or Iniciative

Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998 relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Council Directive 93/12/EEC [See amending acts].

Summary

This Directive meets the commitment given in Directive 94/12/EC that target values would be adopted involving a substantial reduction in pollutant emissions from motor vehicles.

Types of vehicle covered by the Directive

The Directive sets the environmental specifications to be applied to fuels for road vehicles and non-road mobile machinery (including inland waterway vessels when not at sea), agricultural and forestry tractors, and recreational craft when not at sea.

Petrol standards

The standards relating to petrol are detailed in Annex I to this Directive.

Since the year 2000, the marketing of leaded petrol has been banned.

Until 2013, suppliers must place on the market petrol with a maximum oxygen content of 2.7 % and a maximum ethanol content of 5 %.

Derogations may be applied for the outermost regions for the introduction of petrol with a maximum sulphur content of 10 mg/kg. Member States also have the option to place on the market petrol with a maximum vapour pressure of 70 kPa during the summer period. However, the Commission must assess the desirability and duration of the derogation.

Diesel fuel standards

The standards relating to diesel fuel are detailed in Annex II to this Directive.

The sulphur content of gas oils intended for use by non-road mobile machinery must not exceed 1 000 mg/kg. From 1 January 2011, the sulphur content must not exceed 10mg/kg.

However, certain derogations are possible for the outermost regions and for Member States with severe winter weather. In the case of the latter, the maximum distillation point of 65 % at 250 °C for diesel fuels and gas oils may be replaced by a maximum distillation point of 10 % at 180 °C.

Greenhouse gas emissions reductions

Certain suppliers are designated by Member States to be responsible for monitoring and reporting life cycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy from fuel and energy supplied.

With effect from 1 January 2011, suppliers shall report annually, to the authority designated by the Member State, on the greenhouse gas intensity of fuel and energy supplied within each Member State

Suppliers are required to gradually reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 10 % by 31 December 2020 at the latest. The Directive provides intermediary objectives for the course of this time period.

Biofuels: sustainability criteria

The biofuels taken into account shall not be made from the following raw materials:

  • primary forests and other wooded land;
  • designated areas;
  • highly biodiverse grassland;
  • raw materials with high carbon stock.

The greenhouse gas emission saving from the use of biofuels must reach 35 %. With effect from 1 January 2017, the saving must reach 50 % and 60 % from 2018 onwards.

Member States must comply with the sustainability criteria for biofuels. To this end, they shall subject economic operators to a number of requirements.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 98/70/EC

28.12.1998

1.7.1999

OJ L 350 of 28.12.1998

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2000/71/EC

4.12.2000

1.1.2001

OJ L 287 of 14.11.2000

Directive 2003/17/EC

22.3.2003

30.6.2003

OJ L 76 of 22.3.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Directive 2009/30/EC

25.6.2009

31.12.2010

OJ L 140 of 5.6.1010

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 98/70/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Related Acts

Reports

Report from the Commission of 1 December 2008: Quality of petrol and diesel fuel used for road transport in the European Union: Fifth annual report (Reporting year 2006) [COM(2008) 799 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The specifications defined for petrol and diesel fuels by Directive 98/70/EC were in general met in 2006. Very few exceedances were identified. The Commission emphasises that the share of <10 ppm and <50 ppm sulphur fuels increased significantly from 2001 to 2006, and that most Member States are now selling sulphur-free fuels. However, the Commission notes problems related to the absence of labelling of fuels complying with this criterion. It explains that this aspect is an obstacle to the spread of vehicles using this type of fuel, which would have a beneficial effect on the environment in terms of lower pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the Commission regrets that most Member States did not provide precise information as to the geographical availability of sulphur-free fuels.

Commission report of 17 October 2007: Quality of petrol and diesel fuel used for road transport in the European Union: Fourth annual report (reporting year 2005) [COM(2007) 617 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
All Member States except France submitted national reports for 2005. This year, once again, no limits have been reported as having been exceeded. Nevertheless, the sulphur content of diesel fuel proved particularly problematic in 2005, principally in those countries which joined the EU in 2004, due to the entry into force of the new mandatory <50 ppm level on 1 January 2005. The report also shows that the proportion of fuel with a sulphur content of less than 10 ppm and 50 ppm increased between 2001 and 2005 in EU Member States prior to the 2004 enlargement. The Commission stressed, once again, the problem of disparity between national systems for monitoring fuel quality.

Report from the Commission of 28 April 2006: Quality of petrol and diesel fuel used for road transport in the European Union – Third annual Report (Reporting year 2004) [COM(2006) 186 final – Official Journal C 151 of 29.6.2006].
As in the previous year, very few incidences of non-compliance can be noted and the Commission has not received any information to indicate negative repercussions for vehicle emissions or engine functioning. There has been little progress made concerning the proportion of fuel with a sulphur content of <10 ppm and <50 ppm between 2003 and 2004 and EU enlargement has triggered a slight reduction in the proportion of such fuels in the total fuel supply. Nevertheless, the absence of the qualities defined for sulphur-free or low-sulphur fuels limits consumers’ opportunities to choose these fuels, with negative repercussions for the launching of vehicles using these fuels. There continues to be a problem of disparity between national monitoring systems for the quality of fuels.

Report from the Commission of 2 March 2005 – Quality of petrol and diesel fuel used for road transport in the European Union – Second annual Report (Reporting year 2003) [COM(2005) 69 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Fuel quality monitoring in 2003 shows that the specifications for petrol and diesel laid down in Directive 98/70/EC have generally been met. Very few incidences of non-compliance have been reported and the Commission has no indication of any negative repercussions for vehicle emissions or engine functioning due to these violations. The share of fuels with a sulphur content of <10 and <50 ppm increased significantly from 2001 to 2003. Given the considerable disparity between national fuel quality monitoring systems, harmonisation is necessary to obtain transparent and comparable results.

Report from the Commission of 27 April 2004 – Quality of petrol and diesel fuel used for road transport in the European Union – First annual report (Reporting years 2001-2002) [COM(2004) 310 final – Official Journal C 122 of 30.4.2004].
This first report shows that during the period 2001-02, non-compliance with the provisions relating to petrol and diesel were infrequent in Member States. Measures aimed at ensuring compliance with these provisions should be adopted by those countries which have yet to do so. The proportion of fuels with a sulphur content of < 50 ppm increased considerably during this period, while that of fuels with a sulphur content of < 10 ppm remained almost unchanged. Furthermore, a number of Member States have not yet introduced low-sulphur (< 50 ppm) or sulphur-free (<10 ppm) fuels, marketed separately. The report underlines the fact that there is considerable difference between national fuel quality monitoring systems and that transparent and comparable results would depend on greater harmonisation.

Recommendation

Commission Recommendation of 12 January 2005 on what, for the purposes of Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning petrol and diesel fuels, constitutes availability of unleaded petrol and diesel fuel with a maximum sulphur content on an appropriately balanced geographical basis [Official Journal L 15 of 19.1.2005].

The Commission provides guidelines to help Member States ensure that non-sulphur fuels are available within their territories, with parameters including the proportion of refuelling stations supplying sulphur-free fuel per region and the average distance between refuelling stations supplying sulphur-free fuel.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Green Paper on agricultural product quality

Green Paper on agricultural product quality

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green Paper on agricultural product quality

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Food safety: general provisions

Green Paper on agricultural product quality

The aim of this consultation is to ensure a strategic and regulatory framework for the protection of agricultural products and to promote their quality. In this respect, the Commission intends to open a wide discussion on the existing instruments, on how they could be improved and on new initiatives which could be considered. Three areas are being reviewed: farming requirements and marketing standards, existing quality schemes and certification schemes.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 15 October 2008 on agricultural product quality [COM(2008) 641 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Quality is the European farmers’ most potent weapon in facing competition from emerging countries. In Europe the quality of agricultural products rests on the highest levels of safety guaranteed by Community legislation throughout the whole of the food chain and on other aspects (methods and location of production, etc.).

Quality issues related to food safety which are already covered by other Community actions on nutritional labelling or animal welfare do not form part of this consultation.

Production requirements and marketing standards

Food produced in the European Union (EU) adheres to a range of farming requirements. The aim of these requirements is to ensure that all products placed on the market comply with hygiene and safety standards and also respond to a number of environmental, ethical, social, etc. concerns. Many of these farming requirements -those not referring to product hygiene and safety – do not necessarily apply in respect of imported foodstuffs. However, European consumers cannot distinguish between products which adhere to these standards and those which do not. In order to better inform consumers, it is important to ask stakeholders about the possibility of creating a symbol which indicates that a product has been produced in compliance with certain production rules or on the need to indicate the place of production (EU/Non-EU) of primary products.

European marketing standards replace the different national standards. Their aim is to help farmers to offer quality products which meet consumer expectations and facilitate price comparison fordifferent qualities of product. For the majority of agricultural products, they will take the form of regulations that lay down definitions of products, minimum product standards, product categories and labelling requirements. As part of the consultation, stakeholders are asked about the need to define and impose compulsory elements (farming requirements, quality classifications, etc.), reserved terms (term ‘farmhouse’, ‘mountain product’) at the European level and on the need to simplify the current marketing standards.

European quality schemes

The system of geographical indications ensures the protection of intellectual property. This system includes Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) which describe the characteristics (PDO) or the reputation (PGI) of a product which are connected to their geographical area of origin. For consumers, geographical indications guarantee authentic, quality products which meet their expectations. To benefit from a PDO, all stages of production should, in principle, have taken place in the geographical area of origin. In the case of a PGI only one stage of production will suffice (this is the case with spirits in particular). The Green Paper aims to identify the necessary means to improve and develop the system of geographical indications as well as to protect this system in third countries.

The system of Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG) was created in 1992. The TSGs are agricultural products or foodstuffs that have traditional composition or that are produced using traditional raw materials or traditional methods of production. Since its creation, only 20 TSGs have been registered under this system. This relatively low number raises the question whether a better means of identifying and promoting traditional specialities exists.

Since the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on the production and labelling of organic products, the main challenge has been to create an internal market for organic food. At present the market for organic food functions essentially along national lines. It is important, therefore, to consider possibilities which would enable the creation of a genuine single market for organic food at the EU level.

The system aimed at promoting quality products originating from the outermost regions rests on the introduction of a logo. To obtain this logo, producers must adhere to a number of requirements defined in compliance with Community regulations or in their absence, international regulations. To what extent could trade organisations, following the example of Spain and France, adopt additional specific requirements aimed at improving the quality of regional products and increasing the volume of quality agricultural products originating from the outermost regions of the EU?

Should other systems emerge, for example to identify products of ‘high-nature value’ or ‘mountain’ products?

Quality certification schemes

For consumers, food quality certification schemes offer additional guarantees that the label claim can be relied on. These schemes concern not only compliance with compulsory production standards, but also requirements such as environmental protection, animal welfare, fair trade, religious or cultural considerations, farming methods, product origin, etc. These requirements have led to a multitude of certification schemes and quality labels which sometimes give rise to concerns about the transparency of the requirements of the systems in question, the reliability of the claims and the fairness of commercial relations. The Green Paper opens the debate on how to protect the consumer and avoid additional constraints and costs for producers.

Context

The Commission invites all organisations and citizens who have an interest in the quality of agricultural products to submit their contributions before 31 December 2008. These contributions will form a basis for developing a Communication (Commission document establishing strategic guidelines) which should be published in May 2009.

Improving communication on agricultural product quality

Improving communication on agricultural product quality

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving communication on agricultural product quality

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Food safety: general provisions

Improving communication on agricultural product quality

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on agricultural product quality policy [COM(2009) 234 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In this Communication, the Commission defines strategic orientations to improve, in the medium term, communication between farmers, buyers and consumers as regards agricultural product quality, to harmonise European Union (EU) rules on the quality of these products and to improve and simplify existing schemes and labels.

Marketing standards

Marketing standards guarantee fair competition and avoid the consumer being misled as to the characteristics of products. There are four types of information contained in current marketing standards:

  • a basic definition of the product identity (for example the definition of ‘butter’, ‘fruit juice’, etc.);
  • product classification (for example the minimum fat content of ‘semi-skimmed milk’ or ‘large’, ‘medium’ and ‘small’ classes of eggs, etc.);
  • reserved terms bestowing added value upon the product (for example what constitutes ‘first cold pressed’ olive oil or ‘traditional method’ sparkling wine, etc.);
  • labelling requirements concerning the origin or place of farming.

In the future, the Commission plans to:

  • establish a general basic standard. This would cover those matters where a voluntary approach might distort the internal market or where compulsory labelling is necessary to provide consumers with basic information about products;
  • extend labelling systems identifying the place of farming to products other than those which are covered at this time;
  • examine the feasibility of laying down optional reserved terms for ‘product of mountain farming’ and ‘traditional product’. The term ‘traditional product’ could replace the current system of ‘traditional specialities guaranteed’ which has not reached its full potential; and
  • contribute to developing international standards.

Geographical indications

Geographical indication schemes encourage high quality farming, safeguard protected names from unauthorised use and imitation, and help consumers by providing them with information about products’ specific attributes. At this time, there are three schemes (for wines, for spirit drinks, and for agricultural products and foodstuffs) and two instruments: the PDO (protected designation of origin) and the PGI (protected geographical indication).

After the consultation, the Commission plans to:

  • create a single register bringing together the three existing systems (wines, spirits, and agricultural products and foodstuffs), while preserving the specificities of each system; and
  • enhance the protection of geographical indications at international level.

Organic farming

Community legislation on organic farming was amended in 2007 as part of the 2004 action plan for organic farming.

In order to foster trade in organic products, the Commission:

  • has created a logo that will be mandatory for all organic products from 2010;
  • will work with third countries towards recognition for organic farming standards;
  • will contribute to improving the directives of the
    Codex Alimentarius
    on organic farming.

Certification schemes

National or private food quality certification schemes provide a guarantee that agricultural products comply with mandatory farming standards and meet requirements concerning the protection of the environment, animal welfare, etc., defined in the scheme’s specifications. However, they may confuse consumers and engender administrative costs and costs for farmers.

The Commission will establish, in consultation with the Advisory Group on Quality, good practice guidelines for private certification schemes in order to limit these drawbacks.

Context

This Communication is based on the consultation relating to the Green Paper on agricultural product quality published in October 2008, and on the High Level Conference organised on the same theme by the Czech presidency in March 2009.

The strategic orientations set out in this Communication offer a logical framework for the future policy on agricultural product quality. Comments from the other institutions but also from stakeholders will help to further refine and clarify these suggestions.