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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee 

Short report of the meeting (2000/18) held in Brussels on 07 June 2000

President: Mr. Alejandro Checchi Lang

All the Member States were represented.

1. Information - presentation of the final report of a veterinary mission to Portugal with regard to certain protective measures against BSE, in particular, implementation of Commission Decision 98/653/EC and Commission Decision 98/272/EC (13-17 March 2000) (DG(Sanco)/1124/2000/mr)

The Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The objective of the mission, carried out as a follow-up of the previous BSE mission, was to assess

- implementation of the cattle identification system;

- the practical implementation of the Export scheme proposed by the Portuguese authorities in December 1999;

- implementation of Commission Decision 98/272/EC on the epidemio-surveillance for TSEs;

- the epidemiological situation of BSE in Portugal and the BSE eradication.

The Commission presented the conclusions and formulated a number of recommendations.

2. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision regulating the use of material presenting risks as regards transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and amending Decision 94/474/EC (doc. Sanco/2905/99-rev.17)

The Commission presented the above proposal. The scope of the draft Decision was to regulate the use of material presenting risk as regards certain transmissible sponiform encephalopathies, requiring all Member States to remove animal tissues which could present a BSE risk from the feed and food chain as of 1 st October 2000. The proposal also enumerates, in its Annex, the tissues which would be designated as specified risk material (SRM) and lays down the rules for their removal and destruction. Meat imports from third countries would be subject to similar requirements as of 1 st April 2001

After the presentation of the proposal, upon request of the chairman, all Member States expressed their points of view. After this "tour de table", the draft Decision was put to the vote.

Vote: 37 votes in favour; 17 votes against; 33 abstentions.

The proposal was to be submitted to the Council.

The Swedish delegation made the following declaration:

"Sweden is of the opinion that SRM-rules should be prepared, taking into account the varying conditions in the Member States with regard to the prevalence of BSE. Sweden considers it to be essential from a food safety point of view that there are rules regulating SRMs, and therefore welcomes European Community decisions in this area. Sweden votes in favour of the Commission's proposal."

3. Miscellaneous - divers

1. The Commission distributed copies of exchange of correspondence with the U.S.A., providing an update of the situation as regards trade in fresh meat. The Commission requested the Member States to keep the Commission informed about intended visits from US inspectors.

2. Denmark expressed some concerns about the work environment of employees in abattoirs slaughtering bovines with BSE. The Commission said that it would look into the matter.

N.B. The proposals on which the Committee expressed an opinion are subject to a defined procedure in relation to the formal adoption by the Commission.

Mission reports are available on the Internet at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/inspections/index_en.html

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