Recent food safety incidents have demonstrated the need to establish appropriate measures in emergency situations ensuring that all foods whatever their type and origin and all feed should be subject to common measures in the event of a serious risk to human health, animal health or the environment. A comprehensive approach to emergency food safety measures should allow effective action to be taken and avoid artificial disparities in the treatment of a serious risk in relation to food or feed.
Therefore, Regulation (EC)/178/2002 (Article 53) confers special powers to the European Commission for taking emergency measures. Such measures can be taken where it is evident that a feed and food originating in the EU, or imported from a third country, is likely to constitute a serious risk to human health, animal health or the environment, and that such a risk cannot be contained satisfactorily by means of measures taken by the Member States.
Such action can be initiated by the Commission itself, or be requested by a Member State. Depending on the gravity of the situation, emergency measures can take the form of:
- a suspension of the marketing or use of the feed or food in question;
- subjecting the use and marketing of the feed or food to special conditions; or
- any other appropriate interim measure.
If, following information from a Member State on the need to take emergency measures, the Commission does not initiate the procedure for the adoption of emergency measures at Community level, the Member State in question may adopt interim protective measures. The Member State may maintain its national interim protective measures until a Community decision has been adopted concerning the extension, amendment or abrogation of the said measures.