Denmark has been cleared to set stricter limits on levels of nitrates in food and drinks such as wine, snack bars and meat products than is allowed by the European Commission.

A European Union law passed in 1995 set EEC-wide limits on food additives. Denmark opposed the law on the basis that it failed to meet its health requirements for nitrites, nitrates and sulphites.

Then in1999 the EC ruled that Denmark could not retain these tougher standards.

However, the European Court of Justice overturned the Commission’s decision and thrown out the rule which said a country must have new scientific evidence to do so.

The ECJ said due to the uncertainty in assessing public health risks “divergent assessments of those risks can legitimately be made".