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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee 

Short report of the meeting (2000/22) held in Brussels on 19 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:

Foot-and-mouth disease

Greece

The Greek delegation distributed and presented an updated and consolidated report on primary incursion and current evolution of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Greece. The delegate explained that two outbreaks had been confirmed in bovine herds on 11/07/2000 in the Prefecture of Evros, right to the Greek-Turkish border. Suspicion was raised on the basis of clinical signs after an examination following an application for a movement permit in the framework of the EVROS-programme. An epidemiological survey carried out in the vicinity of the suspect herd led to identification of the second outbreak. A third outbreak, situated within the protection zone, was confirmed on 19/07/2000. All the animals considered as definitive epidemiological contacts with confirmed outbreaks were destroyed. The virus was typed as Asia 1.

The Greek delegate also explained the control and safeguard measures taken, indicating that Greece is applying a stamping out/non vaccination policy. In addition to the measures provided for in the framework of Council Directive 85/511/EEC 1 , the Greek authorities apply further measures aimed to contain and eliminate the disease.

Greece also referred to a meeting they had with the Turkish authorities, transmitting a request to the Commission to provide vaccines of certain types to Turkey.

2. Information - exchange of letters with Polish authorities on the recognition of Poland as free from classical swine fever (doc. Sanco/2184/2000) (a.l.)

The Commission distributed copies of the exchange of letters referred to above, including the Commission's reply requesting further clarification.

3. Information on a mission carried out in The Netherlands from 2 to 4 May 2000 to investigate the appearance of sudden deaths and "wasting cattle" in a number of dairy herds in The Netherlands and to evaluate the actions taken in response to this problem - presentation of the mission report (doc. DG(Sanco)/1169/2000) (g.w.)

The Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The objective of the mission was to investigate the appearance of sudden deaths in cattle followed by reports of a wasting condition in a number of herds and to evaluate the actions taken by the Dutch veterinary services in response to this problem. The mission was undertaken as a consequence of farmer and consumer concern, perpetuated by the lack of conclusive information about the probable cause of these problems and the fear of possible consequences for both human and animal health.

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

4. Preliminary oral report on the situation in relation to newcastle disease in Italy (Sanco/1195/2000) (p.v.)

The Italian delegation reported a total of 227 outbreaks, mainly in backyard flocks.

The Commission (FVO) presented a preliminary oral report of the mission carried out in Italy from 03-06 July 2000. The objectives of the mission were essentially:

- to assess the situation with regard to Newcastle disease in several Italian regions and to gather information on the outcome of the epidemiological enquiries;

- to check the application of the control measures taken by the Italian authorities in the light of Council Directive 92/66/EEC 2 .

5. 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.

(1) The Commission distributed and presented a draft Commission Decision concerning certain protection measures with regard to foot-and-mouth disease in Greece (Doc. Sanco/2178/2000-Rev.1) - See also point 1.

Considering the FMD situation in certain parts of Greece, the proposal aims to introduce additional Community protective measures to restrict the movement of live susceptible animals and products derived from such animals to other parts of Greece and the Community.

In particular it will be prohibited:

- to move live susceptible animals and their germinal products from Evros province to the two adjacent provinces Rodopi and Xanthi and from these three provinces to other parts of the Community,

- to send products, notably fresh meat and meat products, milk and milk products, hides and skins and other products from the province of Evros to other parts of the Community unless these products fulfil certain conditions or have been treated in a away that the risk to spread the foot-and- mouth disease virus is avoided.

Vote: 82 votes in favour; 5 votes against.

(2) The Commission distributed and presented a draft Commission Decision amending commission Decision 92/160/EEC with regard to imports of equidae from Brazil (Doc. Sanco/1797/2000)

Commission Decision 92/160/EEC establishes the regionalization of certain third countries for imports of equidae.

Brazil reported cases of glanders in working horses in certain districts of the States Sergipe and Ceara. The origin of the infection remains so far unknown. The States Sergipe and Ceara of Brazil are included in the list of States of Brazil in the Annex to Decision 92/160/EEC from where Member States authorise imports of equidae.

It is the purpose of the present draft Decision to adapt the regionalisation of Brazil to the disease situation by deleting Sergipe and Ceara from the list.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

6. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision concerning complementary financial aid of the Community within the framework of the eradication of classical swine fever in Belgium in 1997 and 1998 (doc. Sanco/2192/2000) (c.b.)

The proposal aims at providing Complementary financial aid of the Community to Belgium for the eligible expenses incurred within the framework of the eradication of classical swine fever in 1997 and 1998.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

7. 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-rev.3) (aef)

The epidemiological situation as regards FMD 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 FMD antigen and, in addition, for the arrangements for formulation, bottling and distribution of the vaccine reconstituted from such antigens.

The Commission made clear that the present proposal was conditional to the draft Decision proposed under point 8 and would only be adopted when that Decision was implemented.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

8. 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 Southeast Europe (doc. Sanco/1933/2000-rev.3) (aef)

The epidemiological situation as regards FMD requires Community assistance to Turkey to carry out an emergency vaccination against virus type Asia 1 in Thrace of all animals of susceptible species. It appears also necessary to prepare emergency vaccination in neighbouring countries should the epidemiological situation so require. The Commission therefore proposed to make available 1.500.000 doses of trivalent vaccine against FMD types O1, A22 and ASIA 1 for use as follows:

a. 1.300.000 doses for emergency vaccination in Turkish Thrace;

b. 200.000 doses for emergency vaccination where required by the epidemiological situation

The competent authorities of Turkey have agreed to carry out the vaccination within the framework of their national FMD control programme and to produce a technical report on the vaccination campaign envisaged.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

9. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 98/404/EC introducing protective measures with regard to equidae imported from Turkey (doc. Sanco/2160/2000) (aef) (see point 8 of svc 2000/20 of 04-05/07/2000)

The purpose of the draft Decision is to allow re-entry of Community registered horses for races after temporary export to Istanbul for the participation in the international race at Veliefendi Race Track in September 2000, in derogation of the measures laid down in Decision 98/404/EC

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

10. Miscellaneous

(1) The Commission reported that during a mission carried out in Romania from 3-7 July 2000, serious failings were found concerning reliability and accuracy of veterinary certification in certain sectors. The Commission distributed the written guarantees provided by the Romanian authorities, confirming that they would, with effect from 12/07/2000, impose a voluntary ban on export to Member States of the following animals/animal products:

- Fattening and breeding sheep/goats

- Horses (all classes)

- Meat products

- Game meat

(2) The Commission distributed the updated "List of laboratories approved by the Member States for the importation of equidae coming from Eastern Europe" (Doc. Sanco/1817/2000)

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/rc/svc/index_en.html

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1 85/511/EEC: Council Directive of 18 November 1985 introducing Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease

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

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