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Health and Consumer Protection

Press releases

Brussels, 13 June 2001

BSE: Results of the Standing Veterinary Committee

The Standing Veterinary Committee today gave a favourable opinion on the testing provisions foreseen in the package of measures put forward by the European Commission yesterday updating the regulation on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE). The Commission will now adopt this proposal. The Committee did not reach a qualified majority on the other measures foreseen in the second proposal of the Commission. It includes the prolongation of the present ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal, the extension of the range of imported products to the EU to be governed by protective measures with effect from 1 October 2001 and the amendment of the BSE eradication rules, introducing an option for local competent authorities not to require the killing of all cattle in herds where a BSE case has been confirmed. This proposal will now be send to the Council for adoption.

TESTING

The proposals on which the Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) gave a favourable opinion and which will now be adopted by the Commission in view of entering into force on 1 July are:

- Reduction in the age of testing of cattle falling into a high risk group (sent for emergency slaughter, found sick at normal slaughter and of animals that have died on farms) from 30 to 24 months EU-wide as of 1 July 2001. This is to provide an early warning system of any unfavourable trend in incidence of BSE.

- An end to the requirement to carry out testing of all healthy bovines aged over 30 months in Austria, Finland and Sweden as of 1 July 2001. Those countries will however need to continue to test at least 10 000 healthy cattle over 30 months on a random basis. This is because scientists have advised that the presence of BSE in these countries is unlikely and substantial BSE testing efforts since the beginning of 2001 have not detected a single BSE case.

- Introduction of the requirement to test at least 50 000 bovines aged over 30 months in the UK in order to obtain a better epidemiological picture. However, all bovines over 30 months continue to be destroyed in the UK.

- Introduction of random post mortem testing of sheep and goats over 18 months, thus covering healthy animals at slaughter and in fallen stock as of 1 January 2002.

- A facility to allow Member States to test health animals aged under 30 months on a voluntary basis and without discrimination to trade.

MBM-BAN, WHOLE HERD SLAUGHTER AND THIRD COUNTRY PROVISIONS

The second range of proposals, on which the SVC did not give a favourable opinion, include:

- Prolongation of the current suspension on the use of meat and bone meal (MBM) in animal feedingstuffs. This ban will be kept under review in the light of the future decision on the risk classification of the country or countries concerned and of progress in the implementation of strict and effective controls.

- Introduction of offspring and cohort slaughter as compulsory with whole herd slaughter on a voluntary basis in the event of the discovery of BSE cases as of 1 July 2001.

- Introduction of a requirement for imports of live cattle from certain third countries of an effective mammalian MBM ban to ruminants and full tracing to the herd and dam of origin from 1 October 2001. An exemption is granted for those countries where scientists have concluded it is most unlikely that they will ever have native BSE-cases.

- Adaptation of the list of products of animal origin imported into the Community to include restrictions on a range of new products, especially tallow, gelatine and petfood from 1 October 2001. It will mainly be required to remove specific risk materials (i.e spinal cord, brain) from the production of those products.

This proposal will now be send to the Agriculture Council, meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday 19 June. The Council can adopt it by qualified majority in favour or reject by qualified majority against. If no qualified majority in favour or against is reached, the proposal returns to the Commission for adoption.

Released on 14/06/2001

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FOOD SAFETY | PUBLIC HEALTH | CONSUMER PROTECTION | DIRECTORATE GENERAL "HEALTH & CONSUMER PROTECTION"

 
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