Food manufacturing plants will have to check whether they have the latest pollution reduction equipment by 2012 under a EU industrial emissions directive.

The regulations were yesterday (8 November) formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers. It covers meat and dairy product plants making 75 tonnes of products or more per day and vegetable sites processing 300 tonnes of vegetable-based products or more per day.

The sites would have to use “best available techniques” to cut pollutants including sulphur and nitrogen compounds and dust by 2012.

The legislation includes complex guidance on the maximum permissible level of each of these pollutants.

A council communiqué said the law would “reduce emissions of pollutants that are harmful to the environment and associated with cancer, asthma and acid rain”.

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