Food and products of animal origin:
- extracts from the debate
Lieu: Strasbourg, France - EP
End production: 07/10/2013 First transmission: 07/10/2013
Proposals to allow veterinarians to declare that meat is fit for human consumption in abattoirs after a simple visual check could be vetoed in a vote on Wednesday. Food Safety Committee MEPs fear that these proposals could result in sanitary problems and risks to human health going undetected. The proposal would allow incision and palpation procedures by official veterinarians, who apply the health mark, but only if data of provenance, previous inspections or visual checks indicate possible risks to public health, animal health or animal welfare.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the EP, Strasbourg
||SOUNDBITE (English) Linda McAVAN (S&D, UK): "We are just beginning a process of new co-decision of looking at the whole issue of meat hygiene inspections, after the scandal of horse meat. We started that process, we've got a rapporteur, we have a hearing next Monday in or committee… why then is the Commission changing something fundamental so late now? People are suspicious and I think they are suspicious because we've seen attempts over recent years to deregulate meat inspection".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Mairead McGUINNESS (EPP, IR): "This change may allow, and should allow for better visual examination and that carcasses are taken off a line when there is a problem. I think that people should know that: they are not just being looked at, there are decisions being made. Ultimately, I believe that this can work where the official veterinarian does the job of the official veterinarian and actually takes carcases that they have any concerns about at all, and that they are the final arbitrators of what goes into the final food chain".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Connie HEDEGAARD, Commissioner: "We welcome the opportunity to reassure and hopefully convince the MEPs on the fact that the Commission's text is a) Sound B) Necessary and C) Fit for purpose".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Connie HEDEGAARD, Commissioner: "There would be no reduction in the level of health protection; this regulation will continue to ensure that all meat that reaches the consumer of course is fit for consumption".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Connie HEDEGAARD, Commissioner: "In order to give you additional reassurance, I can announce that the Commission is ready to put forward a new amendment, which will stress the role of the official veterinarian and further clarify the criteria to be applied during visual inspection".
||Cutaways (4 shots)