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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee 

Short report of the meeting (2000/20) held in Brussels on 04-05 July 2000

President: Mr. Bernard Van Goethem.

All the Member States were represented.

1. Exchange of views of the Committee on the evolution of animal diseases in the Community including:

Newcastle disease

Italy

The Italian delegation distributed and presented a report on the epidemiological situation as it was recorded on 28.06.2000. A total of 194 outbreaks were confirmed, of which 163 occurred in backyard flocks. The most affected area was Toscana with a total of 96 outbreaks. The delegate also provided data on the epidemiological links and the origin of the outbreaks.

As demanded for in the Commission decision 2000/419/EC on certain protection measures relating to Newcastle disease in Italy which was taken at the SVC in July and published on 30 June 2000 the Italian delegation presented a comprehensive vaccination programme against Newcastle disease. Vaccination would be carried out and completed by 31.07.2000 on all farms with poultry as defined in Article 2 of Council Directive 92/66/EC 1 and dealer farms located in the territory of the regions Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Marche, Toscana and Umbria.A monitoring programme to control the efficacy of vaccination would also be perormed.

The Italian representative also explained the restriction measures to be applied to movements of birds in and out the vaccination area and the health conditions for intra-Community trade of hatching eggs and live birds coming from Italy.

As the disease had not come to a standstill yet it was concluded at the meeting that it would be necessary to prolong the vaccination programme until 15 September 2000 to be able to review the disease situation at the next SVC on 5-6 September.

In this respect, the Italian delegation made the following official statement :

Considering the epidemiological situation regarding Newcastle disease presented by the Italian delegation and that Italy will enforce a compulsory vaccination programme against the disease in the five Regions (Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Marche, Toscana and Umbria);

On the basis of the discussion and the conclusion of the Standing Veterinary Committee meeting held in Brussels on 04.07.2000;

Italy will ensure that, at least until 15.09.2000, the provisions listed below will apply for intra-Community trade of live poultry and hatching eggs:

- only vaccinated live poultry and hatching eggs derived from vaccinated flocks are allowed to leave the Italian territory for intra-Community trade

- the following words shall be included in the relevant animal health certificates used for intra-Community trade in live poultry and hatching eggs

"The poultry has been vaccinated against Newcastle disease under official control"

"The hatching eggs are derived from flocks, which have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease under official control"

All the Member States agreed to the statement.

Infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN)

Italy

The Italian delegation reported a new outbreak of IHN (2000/03) in a trout rearing farm in the Friuli region. The infection was confirmed on 16.05.2000. The epidemiological investigation was conducted and restrictive measures were taken in accordance with of Directive 93/53/EEC 2 .

France

France reported 6 outbreaks of IHN. They were located in non-approved zones and non approved farms. Monitoring has been stepped up.

Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS)

Sweden

The Swedish delegate gave an update of the situation since the last SVC. All the fish in the holdings concerned have been slaughtered. The farms have been cleansed and disinfected. The typing of the virus has not been finalised yet.

Finland

The Finnish delegation reported a new outbreak (the third in total) on a rainbow trout farm. The outbreak is linked to the second outbreak and the farm is situated within the already established restriction zone.

2. Information from the Member States and exchange of views of the Committee on the progress of eradication and monitoring programmes, in particular with regard to on the evolution of incidence and prevalence of the disease in the different regions of the Member State concerned and with regard to the implementation of the measures foreseen in the programme :

Enzootic bovine leukosis

Italy and Portugal distributed and presented a report on the progress of the approved eradication and monitoring programme for enzootic bovine leukosis, giving an overview of the disease evolution and the measures in place.

Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia

Portugal distributed and presented a report on the progress of the approved eradication and monitoring programme for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, giving an overview of the disease evolution and the measures in place.

Poseïdom veterinary programmes

France distributed and presented a report on the progress of the approved eradication and monitoring programmes for cowdriosis and babesiosis in Martinique and Guadeloupe, and for anaplasmosis and babesiosis in La Réunion.

3. Information on rabies antibody proficiency testing within the framework of Council Decision 2000/258/EC (doc. Sanco/1840/2000 and Sanco/1583/2000 - rev. 1)

The Commission distributed the list of laboratories interested in being authorised to carry out serological tests to monitor the effectiveness of rabies vaccines within the framework of Council Decision 2000/258/EEC 3 .

The Commission also handed out a working document describing the procedure for rabies antibody proficiency testing within the framework of the above Decision.

The Member States were invited to study the document and to forward their remarks by 1 st August 2000.

4. Information from Greece on the implementation of « evros» within the context of Commission Decision 2000/71/ EC 4

The Greek delegation provided information about the implementation of the "EVROS" surveillance programme designed to detect foot-and-mouth disease, rinderpest, sheep and goat pox, bluetongue and small ruminant pest, for areas of Greece considered as special risk areas. The delegate also explained the modalities of the surveillance providing details about clinical examinations, serological and entomological monitoring and epidemiological surveys.

The Commission requested Greece to report on the results of the exercise at the SVC of September 2000.

5. Exchange of views on an official request from Chile concerning imports of live pigs and pigmeat.

The Commission explained that the Chilean authorities had submitted an official request to be recognised for export of live pigs and pig meat to the EU, based on the current animal health situation in Chile.

See also point 12.

6. Report from Member States on the state of implementation of Decision 1999/724/ EC 5 (gelatine)

Italy reported that one of the two Italian establishments producing gelatine is going to stop temporary its activity due to difficulties of supplying of raw material (i.e. bovine hides). In particular, it was explained that the usual French suppliers of raw material refuse to provide the commercial document attesting that the hides derived from animal carcasses which passed ante and post mortem inspection, as required by Decision 1999/724/EC.

France explained that there are indeed problems of implementation of this Decision in France and, therefore, a postponement of 1 year of the entry into force of Decision 1999/724/EC should be considered by the Commission. The Dutch delegation supported the French request, while Italy stated that this long delay was not at all necessary. On the contrary, Italy stressed that it should not be a problem for the French operators to deliver immediately the commercial document as the rejection of a carcass following post mortem inspection is a rare occurrence in a slaughtering working day.

Germany opposed to the possibility of postponing the date of entry into force, as this Decision was extensively discussed for more than 1 year by the SVC before its adoption. Furthermore, a transitional period of 8 months was given to the industry for the implementation of this Decision.

Problems of implementation of Decision 1999/724/EC were not reported by any other delegations.

7. Information from the Member States in relation to problems encoutered during export

Several Member States enumerated problems encountered exporting to third countries. These problems appeared to be numerous.

8. Information on a request from Turkey for re-entry of registered horses temporarily exported to Istambul for one race in September (doc Sanco/1994/2000)

The Commission submitted a request for derogation to Decision 98/404/EC 6 , from the Turkish Jockey Club, in order to allow re-entry of registered horses for races after temporary export to Istanbul for the participation in the international race at Veliefendi Race Track in September 2000.

A draft Decision will be tabled at the SVC of 18-19 September 2000.

9. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision on the evolution of animal diseases in the Community and in Third Countries.

No items were raised.

10. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision laying down animal and public health conditions and veterinary certifications for import of wild and farmed game meat and rabbit meat from Third Countries and repealing Commission Decisions 97/217/EC, 97/218/EC, 97/219/EC and 97/220/EC (doc. Sanco/243/2000 rev 4)

In order to facilitate the consultation and the transparency of the EU legislation and to update the animal and public health conditions and veterinary certification for import of wild and farmed game meat and rabbit meat from third countries, the Commission proposed to repeal the existing Decisions (97/217/EC, 97/218/EC, 97/219/EC and 97/220/EC) and to create a new single Decision.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

11. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision laying down animal and public health conditions and veterinary certification for imports of minced meat and meat preparations from Third Countries and repealing Council Decision 97/29/EC(doc. Sanco/200/2000 rev 3)

The purpose of the draft Decision was to lay down animal health conditions for the importation of minced meat and meat preparations from third countries, in addition to the public health requirements already established in Council Decision 97/29/EC 7 . The aim is to establish these conditions in a single model certificate.

The proposal had been submitted to the WTO.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

12. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Council Decision 79/542/EEC drawing up a list of Third Countries from which the Member States authorize imports of bovine animals, swine, equidae, sheep and goats, fresh meat and meat products, to take into account some aspects concerning Chile (doc. Sanco/1949/2000)

Following a Chilean (see point 5), the Commission proposed to include Chile on the list of third countries from which Member States authorise imports of live pigs and pig meat.

The Commission also distributed a draft Decision aiming to amend Decision 93/402/EEC 8 accordingly by establishing the animal health conditions and the model of certificate to be required on imports into the EC of pig meat from Chile (Doc. Sanco/2005/2000)

Several Member States showed some reluctance considering that export to Chile is not always facilitated because of incorrect application of WTO rules by the Chilean authorities in certain cases.

The vote was postponed.

13. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision for the purchase by the Community of foot-and-mouth disease antigens and for the formulation, production, bottling and distribution of vaccines against foot-and-mouth disease (doc. Sanco/1841/2000)

In relation to foot-and-mouth disease, the epidemiological situation in regions adjacent to the Community and in countries with which trade exists require to complete Community reserves with antigens of virus types representing a risk to Community livestock in sufficient quantities to meet the challenges of a potential epidemic. The purpose of the draft Decision is to provide for the engagement of the financial resources in 2000 for the purchase of antigen and, in addition, for the arrangements for formulation, bottling and distribution of the vaccine reconstituted from such antigen.

The draft Decision will be put to the vote at the next SVC.

14. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision on a Community financial contribution to measures to control foot-and-mouth disease in certain parts of Turkey (doc. Sanco/1933/2000)

Foot-and-mouth disease type ASIA 1 was reported in Turkey. The outbreaks constitute a direct threat to the Community, notably Greece. The epidemiological situation requires Community assistance to Turkey to carry out an emergency vaccination against this type of virus in Thrace of all animals of susceptible species. The proposal enables the Commission to take the necessary steps to make the FMD vaccine available to the Turkish competent authorities. The Commission would also ensure to replace the amount of antigen used for the action referred to above.

The vote was postponed.

15. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decisions 93/42/EEC and 95/109/EC concerning additional guarantees relating to infectious bovine rhinotracheitis for bovines destined for certain parts of the territory of the Community free from the disease and repealing Commission Decision 98/580/EC (doc. Sanco/1477/2000-rev.1 and doc. Sanco/1993/2000)

Italy carried out a programme to eradicate infectious bovine rhinotracheitis in the Province of Bolzano for which reason it was granted certain additional guarantees in relation to this region. Italy considered that the Province of Bolzano was now free from infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and had submitted supporting documentation to the Commission. The Italian delegation presented the supporting data to the Committee.

The purpose of the draft Decision was to propose certain additional guarantees for the Province of Bolzano in Italy to protect the progress made with regard to the eradication of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis by amending Decisions 93/42/EEC and 95/109/EC.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour. (Austria was absent but represented by Germany)

16. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision laying down animal and public health conditions and veterinary certificates for imports of farmed ratite meat and amending Commission Decision 96/659/EC on protective measures in relation to crimean congo haemorrhagic fever (doc. Sanco/2947/1999-rev. 7)

The animal and public health requirements for the import of farmed ratite meat from third countries to the Community are not yet harmonised and currently based on bilateral agreements between the importing Member State and the exporting third country. The purpose of this Decision is to lay down harmonised animal and public health requirements and the certification for ratite meat and to draw up a list of third countries allowed using these certificates.

All Member States agreed technically on the Articles and on the Annexes of the Decision.

The vote was postponed.

17. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending annex iv to Council Directive 90/539/EEC on animal health conditions governing intra-community trade in, and imports from Third Countries of, poultry and hatching eggs and amending Commission Decision 96/482/EC laying down animal health conditions and veterinary certificates for the importation of poultry and hatching eggs other than ratites and eggs thereof from Third Countries including animal health measures to be applied after such importation (doc. Sanco/1485/2000 - rev.2)

Experience in trade with live poultry and hatching eggs especially as regards multinational companies has shown that it is necessary to modify the animal health certificate for the intra-Community trade in day-old chicks. The purpose of the draft Decision is to enable Member States to send day-old chicks to another Member State also when they are derived from hatching eggs, which have been imported and to ensure that the period of isolation foreseen for such poultry is carried out in accordance to the provisions of Decision 96/482/EC.

Some legal aspects had been clarified and the comments made in this respect had been addressed.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

18. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 92/452/EEC establishing lists of embryo collection teams and embryo production teams approved in Third Countries for export of bovine embryos to the Community (doc. Sanco/1970/2000)

The purpose of the draft Decision was to update the list of embryo collection teams and embryo production teams in third countries for export of bovine embryos by adding one team in Australia to the list in the Annex of Decision 92/452/EEC.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

19. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 93/693/EEC establishing a list of semen collection centres approved for the export to the Community of semen of domestic animals of the bovine species from Third Countries (doc. Sanco/1973/2000)

The purpose of the draft Decision was to update the list of semen collection centres in third countries for export of bovine semen by adding one centre in New Zealand to the list in the Annex of Decision 93/693/EEC.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

20. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending for the seventh time Council Directive 82/894/EEC concerning the notification of animal diseases in the Community (doc Sanco/475/2000 - rev.3)

The purpose of the draft Decision is to review and update the Animal Disease Notification System (ADNS) to make it compatible for the year 2000. In addition, the proposal aims to amend certain names of animal diseases, which are subject to notification and modify the information to be given under the notification. The Commission proposed to consolidate the previous amendments by updating and replacing all the annexes accordingly.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

21. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision laying down the codified form and the codes for the notification of animal diseases pursuant to Council Directive 82/894/EEC and repealing Decisions 84/90/EEC and 90/442/EEC (doc Sanco/396/2000 - rev.4) (hb)

The purpose of the draft Decision is to update and consolidate the Decisions laying down the codified form and the codes for the animal disease notifications.

The Commission formally requested the Member States to check the data available and to formulate possible remarks by the end of the week.

The vote was postponed.

22. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 97/778/ EC 9 and updating the list of border inspection post approved for veterinary checks (doc. Sanco/1966/2000)

The purpose of the draft Decision was to update the list of border inspection posts by adding to the list, following an urgent French request, the airport of Vatry (France).

Vote: unanimous vote in favour. (Austria was absent but represented by Germany)

23. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision on a draft Commission Decision laying down the rules for technical and scientific measures concerning the control of African swine fever and the financial contribution from the Community (doc. Sanco/1935/2000)

The Commission explained that an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) has occurred in Portugal in November 1999. The origin of the outbreak has not been clarified. Portugal took the initiative to plan an epidemiological study on the origin of the outbreak, with specific aim to verify if the ticks of the genus Ornithodorus might have acted as reservoir of ASF virus. The Commission proposed to grant financial aid to enable Portugal to carry out technical and scientific investigations. The Commission could then ensure that Community legislation is based on updated scientific knowledge and appropriate measures are taken to prevent ASF. Portugal should submit a final report by 31.01.2001.

Portugal distributed and presented information on the programme for risk evaluation related to the existence of ticks Ornithodorus erraticus. The programme had already started because of the season.

The vote was postponed.

24. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 97/569/EC on drawing up provisional lists of Third Country establishments from which Member States authorise imports of meat products (Australia) (doc. Sanco/1916/2000-rev.1)

The aim of the draft Decision was to add to the provisional list of third country establishments drawn up under Decision 97/569/EC, four establishments in Australia authorised to export meat products (from rabbit meat, meat of farmed and wild game and poultry meat) to the Community.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

25. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 2000/293/EC on financial aid from the Community for the operation of certain community reference laboratories in the field of animal health and live animals in relation to rabies (doc. Sanco/599/2000)

The point was withdrawn from the agenda.

26. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision laying down performance criteria for analytical methods to be used for detecting certain substances and residues thereof in live animals and animal products according to Council Directive 96/23/EC repealing Commission Decisions 90/151/EC, 93/256/EC and 93/257/EC (doc. Sanco/1805/2000)

The point was withdrawn from the agenda.

27. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision concerning the animal health conditions and veterinary certification for imports of live animals of bovine and porcine species from certain Third Countries and repealing Commission Decisions 83/494/EEC, 92/460/EEC, 92/463/EEC, 93/491/EEC, 96/650/EC and 98/372/EC (doc. Sanco/233/2000)

The Commission distributed and presented the above proposal for study and observation.

Directive 96/93/EC 10 lays down standards for certification, which are necessary for valid certification and to prevent fraud. It is therefore appropriate to ensure that the rules and principles applied by third-country certifying officers provide guarantees which are at least equivalent to those laid down in this Directive.

In order to clarify and simplify the Community legislation the Commission proposed to group together the health conditions required for imports of domestic animals of the bovine and porcine species from third countries and to repeal the decisions in force for those countries.

The Commission announced that working groups on the subject would be organised.

In connection with the above draft Decision, the Commission also distributed a letter from Canada concerning the veterinary certification on imports of cattle and pigs from Canada (Doc. Sanco/2095/2000)

28. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision for safety and potency testing of foot-and-mouth disease vaccines and bluetongue vaccine (doc. Sanco/1894/2000 and doc. Sanco/1940/2000)

The Commission distributed and presented the above proposal for study and observation.

The FMD virus antigen strains purchased by Decision 93/590/EC 11 need to be tested for potency with the objective to ensure that the quality of the reserves is adequate. By Decision 98/64/EC 12 it was agreed that the Commission would make arrangements for testing of certain FMD vaccines produced in Turkey for immunisation of susceptible animals kept in Turkish Thrace. By Decision 2000/292/EC 13 the Community has established a bluetongue vaccine emergency stock. The purpose of the draft Decision is to provide for the engagement of the financial resources in 2000 for the testing of these foot-and-mouth disease vaccines and bluetongue vaccines important for the prevention of disease outbreaks in the Member States.

The Commission also distributed a working document providing information about the contract notice for the safety and potency testing mentioned above.

29. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 96/240/EEC laying down the sampling plans and diagnostic methods for the detection and confirmation of certain fish diseases (vhs and ihn) (doc. Sanco/1965/2000)

The Commission distributed and presented the above proposal for study and observation.

Since Decision 92/532/EEC 14 was adopted, new practical and scientific developments have taken place. This progress requires the sampling plans and diagnostic methods to be applied for examination and identification of virus to be updated. Another update proposed relates to amendments of Council Directive 91/67/EEC 15 . The proposal aims to amend Decision 92/532/EEC accordingly.

The Commission requested the Member States to forward their comments by 15.08.2000.

30. Miscellaneous

1. Austria questioned the Commission about the possibility to accept a certificate for horses in which some details are missing.

2. Germany tabled a legal problem linked to residues and import of live animals, in particular to the list of third countries allowed to export to the Community and the list of third countries fulfilling the residue requirements.

3. The United Kingdom distributed and presented a report on a case of BSE in a cow born after 1 August 1996, date on which the UK implemented extra control measures on animal feed containing mammalian meat and bone meal.

4. The Commission provided update information concerning the state of affairs in Zimbabwe. The situation seemed to have deteriorated but the animal health risks were deemed to be acceptable for the moment. The situation would be closely monitored.

5. The Commission distributed:

- the list of approved staging points based on Article 3 of Council Regulation (EC)1255/97 16 ;

- an information note concerning presentation of FVO mission reports in the Standing Veterinary Committee (D(2000)31969)

- the new organisation chart for the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection.

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:

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1 Council Directive 92/66/EEC of 14 July 1992 introducing Community measures for the control of Newcastle disease

2 Council Directive 93/53/EEC of 24 June 1993 introducing minimum Community measures for the control of certain fish diseases

3 2000/258/EC: Council Decision of 20 March 2000 designating a specific institute responsible for establishing the criteria necessary for standardising the serological tests to monitor the effectiveness of rabies vaccines

4 2000/71/EC: Commission Decision of 20 December 1999 concerning a specific financial contribution by the Community relating to epidemiological surveillance of certain animal diseases in areas at risk in Greece

5 1999/724/EC: Commission Decision of 28 October 1999 amending Annex II to Council Directive 92/118/EEC laying down animal health and public health requirements governing trade in and imports into the Community of products not subject to the said requirements laid down in specific Community rules referred to in Annex A (I) to Directive 89/662/EEC and, as regards pathogens, to Directive 90/425/EEC

6 98/404/EC: Commission Decision of 12 June 1998 introducing protective measures with regard to equidae imported from Turkey

7 97/29/EC: Commission Decision of 17 December 1996 establishing health conditions and public health certification for the importation of minced meat and meat preparations from third countries

8 93/402/EEC: Commission Decision of 10 June 1993 concerning animal health conditions and veterinary certification for imports of fresh meat from South American countries

9 97/778/EC: Commission Decision of 22 July 1997 drawing up a list of border inspection posts (BIPs) agreed for veterinary checks on products and animals from third countries, laying down detailed rules concerning the checks to be carried out by the experts of the Commission and repealing Decision 96/742/EC

10 Council Directive 96/93/EC of 17 December 1996 on the certification of animals and animal products

11 93/590/EC: Commission Decision of 5 November 1993 for the purchase by the Community of foot-and-mouth disease antigens within the framework of the Community action concerning reserves of foot-and-mouth disease vaccines

12 98/64/EC: Commission Decision of 9 December 1997 on a Community financial contribution for improving the foot- and-mouth disease control programme in Turkey

13 2000/292/EC: Commission Decision of 6 April 2000 for purchase by the Community of bluetongue vaccine for emergency stock

14 92/532/EEC: Commission Decision of 19 November 1992 laying down the sampling plans and diagnostic methods for the detection and confirmation of certain fish diseases

15 Council Directive 91/67/EEC of 28 January 1991 concerning the animal health conditions governing the placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products

16 Council Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 of 25 June 1997 concerning Community criteria for staging points and amending the route plan referred to in the Annex to Directive 91/628/EEC

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