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Food Safety

BSE

Legislation

Chronological list of Community legislation

By the middle of 1990, the basic Community legislation on BSE was in place, as far as live cattle and meat were concerned, and has been amended and refined since strictly following scientific recommendations.

On 28 July 1989, the Commission introduced the first Community law on BSE. Although BSE was generally assumed to be "scrapie of cattle", and scrapie was known to pose no risk to human health, measures were taken to protect the health of European consumers against any hypothetical possibility of transmission of the disease from cattle.

Chronological list pdf (194KB)

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General framework

On 22 May 2001, the European Parliament and Council adopted Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 PDFlaying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, which is known as the ‘TSE Regulation’. This Regulation is applicable as of 1 July 2001.

The TSE Regulation provides measures targeting all animal and public health risks resulting from all animal TSE, and governing the entire chain of production and placing on the market of live animals and products of animal origin. It consolidates much of the existing legislation on BSE or TSE, including rules for the monitoring of TSE in bovine, ovine and caprine animals, removal of specified risk material and prohibitions concerning animal feeding. It also introduces new legislation for areas which are not yet covered by European Union (EU) rules such as eradication of TSE and trade rules covering the domestic market, intra-community trade, import and export. Furthermore it provides for the procedure, criteria and categories for the classification of countries according to BSE status. Transitional measures to permit the changeover to the TSE Regulation may be adopted for a maximum period of 2 years (see Regulations (EC) No 1326/2001 and 270/2002).

The provisions are based on international recommendations (‘Office International des Epizooties (OIE)’ Code) and on the scientific opinions issued by Committees advising the European Community in order to ensure a very high level of protection.

  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1915/2003 of 30 October 2003 amending Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the trade and import of ovine and caprine animals and the measures following the confirmation of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in bovine, ovine and caprine animals
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1809/2003 of 15 October 2003 amending Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards rules for importation of live bovine animals and products of bovine, ovine and caprine origin from Costa Rica and New Caledonia.

  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1234/2003 of 10 July 2003 amending Annexes I, IV and XI to Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 1326/2001 as regards transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and animal feeding ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1139/2003 of 27 June 2003 amending Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards monitoring programmes and specified risk material ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV
  • Regulation (EC) No 1128/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 June 2003 amending Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 as regards the extension of the period for transitional measures ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1053/2003 of 19 June 2003 amending Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards rapid tests
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 650/2003 of 10 April 2003 amending Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the import of live ovine and caprine animals ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV
  • Commission Decision 2003/100/EC of 13 February 2003 laying down minimum requirements for the establishment of breeding programmes for resistance to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in sheep ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 260/2003 of 12 February 2003 amending Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the eradication of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in ovine and caprine animals and rules for the trade in live ovine and caprine animals and bovine embryos ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1494/2002 of 21 August 2002 amending Annexes III, VII and XI to Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and the Council as regards monitoring of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, eradication of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, removal of specified risk materials and rules for importation of live animals and products of animal origin
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 270/2002 of 14 February 2002 amending Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards specified risks material and epidemio-surveillance for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and amending Regulation (EC) No 1326/2001 as regards animal feeding and the placing on the market of ovine and caprine animals and products thereof ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV

  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1326/2001 of 29 June 2001 laying down transitional measures to permit the changeover to the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EC) No 999/2001 laying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV

  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1248/2001 of 22 June 2001 amending Annexes III, X and XI to Regulation (EC)No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards epidemio-surveillance and testing of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV

  • Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 laying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV

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Removal of specified risk materials

Specified risk materials (SRM) are defined as the animal tissues being most at risk of harbouring the TSE agent. By way of precaution, these tissues must be removed from the food and feed chains to avoid the risk of recycling the TSE agent. They are separately collected at slaughterhouses and disposed of by direct incineration or after pre processing.

The Commission keeps SRM measures under regular review and has requested the opinion of the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) on a number of occasions on the appropriate measures to be taken in relation to TSE risk in cattle and sheep.

The rules for the removal and destruction of SRM are currently set out on a transitional basis in Article 22 and Annex XI. More details on the current list of SRM could be found in Annex XI, Chapter A (1).

These measures also apply to the production and placing on the market of a wide range of animal products.

  • Annex XI of Regulation (EC) No 999/2001, as amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 270/2002

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Surveillance and testing

The TSE Regulation establishes the rules for the surveillance and the monitoring of TSE in bovine, ovine and caprine animals in Articles 6 and 11, and Annex III. These rules include two elements:

  • a passive surveillance in animals with clinical symptoms compatible with BSE, which was introduced from 1998 at EU level and focused primarily on clinical cases notified as suspects;

  • an active surveillance (monitoring), which was introduced in 2001 at EU level and is based on the use of rapid post mortem tests.

Results of these two types of surveillance can be found under Statistics.

  • Annex III of Regulation (EC) No 999/2001, as amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 270/2002

  • Annex X of Regulation (EC) No 999/2001, as amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1248/2001

  • Annex XI, chapter B of Regulation (EC) No 999/2001, as amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1248/2001

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Rules on the BSE status classification

Article 5, paragraph 1 of the TSE Regulation requires that Member States and third countries shall submit an application to the Commission for their BSE Status to be determined, accompanied by the relevant information on the criteria set out in Annex II, chapter A, and on the potential risk factors specified in Annex II, Chapter B, and their development over time. Based on this information, the Commission establishes the BSE status of the country.

  • Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 999/2001

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Feed Ban

The recycling of inadequately processed ruminant by-products from BSE infected animals is considered as the main reason of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic in ruminants. Therefore a EU wide "feed ban" was put in place prohibiting at present the use of animal proteins in feed intended not only to ruminants but to all farmed animals which are kept, fattened and bred for the production of food.

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Animal by-products

"Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 of the European Parliament and the Council laying down health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption was adopted on 3 October 2002. The Regulation is, after the TSE Regulation adopted in 2000, the second key action of the White Paper on Food Safety and is a major component of the Commission strategy to combat and eradicate feed-borne food crises such as BSE, foot and mouth disease, swine fever and dioxin contamination. It is key to the exclusion of dead animals and other condemned materials from the feed chain, and to the safe processing and disposal of the 16 millions of tonnes of animal by-products produced in the Union each year. Under the Regulation, only materials derived from animal declared fit for human consumption following veterinary inspection may be used for the production of feeds. It also bans intra-species recycling, so-called "cannibalism". It sets out clear rules on what must and may be done with the excluded animal materials, imposing strict identification and traceability system requiring certain products such as meat and bone meal and fats destined for destruction to be permanently marked to avoid possible fraud and risk of diversion of unauthorised products into food and feed. The Regulation introduces new alternative disposal methods such as biogas, composting and co-incineration. It creates a new transparent, comprehensive and directly applicable legal framework that replaces and simplifies a multitude of scattered directives and decisions which have developed over more that a decade in response to internal market requirements and crisis situation such as:" 

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Trade rules

Regulation (EC) 999/2001 ES DA DE el FR IT NL PT FI SV creates a firm link between the BSE status of a country and the conditions that apply to the export of live bovine animals and a range of products of animal origin from that country to EU. This range includes bovine embryos, fresh meat, minced meat and meat preparations, meat products, other products of animal origin, rendered fat, gelatine, petfood, processed animal protein, bones and bone products, raw material for the manufacture of animal feedingstuffs and bovine intestines. Until the BSE status of the country is not established, transitional measures apply but at the latest until July 2003.

  • Annex XI of Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 (transitional measures)

  • Annex IX of Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 (importation)

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

 
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