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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee 

Short report of the meeting (2000/24) held in Brussels on 05-06 September 2000

President: Mr. Bernard Van Goethem for all the points, except for points 13, 21C and 22: Mr. Jens Nymand-Christensen

All the Member States were represented. Luxembourg was absent, but represented by Belgium.

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

Classical swine fever

United Kingdom

The UK delegation distributed reports nrs. 2 and 3. He confirmed the occurrence of 2 new outbreaks and several suspicions located in the surveillance zones already established in Norfolk and Suffolk. In Essex, no further outbreaks have been reported. See also points 15 and 21A.

The delegate also explained the introduction of a Pig Welfare (Disposal) Scheme. The purpose of the Scheme is to alleviate pig welfare problems on farms in areas under restriction because of CSF.

Germany

The German delegation provided updated information as regards the 2 cases of CSF reported at the last SVC. Both the outbreaks had been classified as primary outbreaks. The testing carried out in the protection and surveillance zones had all given negative results.

Foot-and-mouth disease

Greece

The Greek delegation distributed and presented the 4 th follow-up report, describing the evolution of FMD in Greece. Since the last report, there have been no new outbreaks. See also point 14.

The report also outlined initiatives aiming to invoke regional co-operation, at bilateral or European level, for the prevention and control of trans-boundary animal diseases.

Bluetongue

Greece

The Greek delegation presented an update on the bluetongue situation in Greece.

Italy

The Italian delegation distributed several documents providing information in relation to recent outbreaks of bluetongue in Sardinia. To date, 259 outbreaks have been confirmed, both in the south and the north of the island. The delegate explained the measures adopted, highlighting that a complete ban of movements of live ruminants and their semen, ova and embryos from the entire region of Sardinia to the rest of the territory and other Member States had been imposed.

The Commission expressed its pre-occupation as regards the situation for the Mediterranean area and proposed to organise an expert meeting to look at the situation in the light of the most recent information. The possibility of vaccination would also be looked in to.

See also point17.

Newcastle disease

Italy

The Italian representative said that, to date, 239 outbreaks had been confirmed, mainly in backyard flocks.

The Italian delegation made the following official statement concerning the intra-community trade of live poultry and hatching eggs with regard to Newcastle disease:

"Considering the epidemiological situation regarding Newcastle disease presented by the Italian delegation at the Standing Veterinary Committee meeting held in Brussels on 5 September 2000 and on basis of the discussion and the conclusions made there:

Italy will ensure to continue the compulsory vaccination programme against Newcastle disease established in the six regions of Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Marche, Piemonte, Toscana and Umbria until 15 October 2000.

Italy will ensure that at least until 15 October 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 had 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"

Avian influenza

Italy

Italy updated the Committee on the AI situation. The Italian delegate reported 4 cases of low pathogenic avian influenza infections (LPAI) of H7 subtype, all in the Verona Province. Infection was suspected in five other farms. The delegate also indicated that there were 8 serologically positive farms.

Infectious haematopoietic necrosis

The presentation was postponed.

Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia

The presentation was postponed.

2. Information from Greece on the implementation of « evros» within the context of Commission Decision 2000/71/EC 1

The "EVROS" surveillance programme is 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 Greek delegation reported that 6844 samples had been taken within the framework of the programme, of which 105 tested positive for one of the above diseases. Installation of a database was in progress.

3. Information from Germany concerning a request for the recognition of hessen as free from Aujeszky's disease (doc. Sanco/2220/2000)

The German delegation presented the documentation supporting the application for the Land Hessen to be recognised as free from Aujeszky's disease and subsequently requested to obtain additional guarantees for intra-Community trade.

4. Information from the Commission in relation to the foot-and-mouth disaese situation in South America (doc. Sanco/2628/2000)

The Commission distributed information as regards the FMD situation in Argentina and indicated that there was no justification to restrict current trade with Argentina. As regards Paraguay, however, the Commission expressed some concern considering the massive vaccination, which was being carried out in that country. The Commission is awaiting further information. In the meanwhile, no action is to be taken as there is no immediate health threat.

5. Information on call for tender in relation to safety and potency testing of foot-and-mouth disaese vaccine and bluetongue vaccine (doc. Sanco/1940/2000 - rev. 1)

The Commission distributed information concerning an invitation to tender within the framework of Council Directive 92/50/EEC 2 . The Commission wants to assess the quality of certain foot-and-mouth disease vaccines and bluetongue vaccines.

6. Information on rabies antibody proficiency testing within the framework of Council Decision 2000/258/EC 3 (doc. Sanco/1840/2000 and Sanco/2377/2000 and Sanco/1583/2000 - rev. 3)

The Commission invited the Member States to study the documents distributed in relation to the testing to monitor the effectiveness of rabies vaccines. The draft Commission Decision authorising laboratories to check the effectiveness of vaccination against rabies in certain domestic carnivores (Doc. Sanco/2377/2000) was to be put on the agenda of one of the next SVCs.

7. 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 :

Aujeszky's disease :

Belgium and Germany distributed and presented a report on the progress of the approved eradication and monitoring programme for Aujeszky's disease, giving an overview of the disease evolution and the measures in place.

T.S.E. :

Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece and Italy presented their reports on the progress of the approved eradication and monitoring programmes for scrapie, giving an overview of the disease evolution and the measures in place.

8. Information : eradication and surveillance programmes in the veterinary sector - priorities for 2001 (doc. Sanco/709/2000 - rev.1)

The Commission presented the above document, outlining the criteria for co-financing to be used on the animal health eradication and control programmes of the Member States for 2001. The Commission also explained that the final Decision would have to be adopted before 15 October 2000.

9. Information on a mission to Poland from 3 to 7 April 2000 concerning the production of meat products, meat preparations and other products - presentation of the mission report (doc. Sanco/1068/2000)

The point was withdrawn from the agenda.

10. Information on a mission carried out in Greece from 24 th to 27 th July 2000 concerning an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (doc. Sanco/1280/2000)

Postponed.

11. Information on the follow-up of a mission carried out in Roumania (see discussion under miscellaneous at the SVC of 22/08/2000)

The Commission explained that Romania had installed a voluntary ban on export of certain live animals/animal products following the detection of serious deficiencies, by an EU inspection team. Greece had informed the Commission that the ban was not implemented. The Commission said to have contacted the Romanian authorities, which acknowledged that errors had been committed and assured the Commission that an effective ban was put in place. Romania had also confirmed that certain urgent problems in relation to the deficiencies detected had been addressed. The Commission announced that the FVO would re-visit Romania to assess the situation.

12. Information on the situation in Zimbabwe and in Namibia (doc. Sanco/2604/2000)

The Commission provided updated information in relation to the situation in Zimbabwe and on the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Namibia. In Zimbabwe the conditions seem not to have deteriorated since the last report. The problems reported are apparently mainly situated outside the EU export zones and in Namibia the outbreak is also outside the EU export zone.

13. Exchange of views of the Committee on the provision, on an annual basis, of the European Community's (EC) monitoring plans for the detection of residues for the current year and of the results of the EC's monitoring plans of the previous year to Third Countries with which the EC has concluded bilateral veterinary agreements; in this context, a further exchange of views on the immediate provision of the results for 1999 and the plans for 2000 to the Canadian competent authority which has requested to receive them prior to its system review of the EC's control mechanisms for residues commencing in mid-September.

The Commission explained that Canada had requested to receive rapidly the residue monitoring plans for 2000 and the results of the plans for 1999, as it is foreseen in the Veterinary Agreement. A Canadian inspection mission is scheduled for October 2000. All the Member States agreed to the transmission of the data concerned.

14. 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.

The Commission distributed and presented a Draft Commission Decision amending for the second time Decision 2000/486/EC concerning certain protection measures with regard to foot-and-mouth disease in Greece" (Doc. Sanco/2630/2000)

Following the favourable evolution of the disease in Rodopi, the Commission proposed to revert to the initial definition of the regions in which the protective measures established by Decision 2000/486/EC are applied, i.e. Evros remains infected, Rodopi and Xanthi are considered as protection zones.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

15. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 2000/528/EC concerning certain protection measures relating to classical swine fever in the United Kingdom (doc. Sanco/2610/2000-rev.1)

In the light of the favourable evolution of the CSF situation in Essex, the Commission proposed to lift the restrictions in this area. Conditions for this release are that no further outbreaks are reported before 15/09/2000 and that all examinations and tests in the farms located in the protection and surveillance zones and in all the suspected holdings, have given negative results. The measures established in Norfolk and Suffolk would be maintained and prolonged until 15/10/2000.

Vote: 79 votes in favour; 8 abstentions.

16. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee 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 purpose of the proposal is to grant financial assistance to Portugal to allow them to carry out an epidemiological study on the origin of the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF), which occurred in November 1999. The specific aim of the study is to verify if the ticks of the genus Ornithodorus might have acted as reservoir of ASF virus.

The vote was postponed.

17. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision concerning certain protection measures relating to bluetongue in Italy (doc. Sanco/2572/2000-rev.1)

The Italian authorities have taken measures to control the disease, including the ban of movements of ruminants and certain ruminant products from the island of Sardinia (see also point 1). The purpose of this draft Decision is to adopt at Community level measures on the movements of all ruminants and certain ruminant products (semen, embryos and ova) from Sardinia, which reflect the measures already adopted by Italian authorities.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

18. 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 request, the Commission proposed to include Chile on the list of third countries from which Member States authorise imports of live pigs and pig meat (see also point 25).

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

19. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision laying down animal health requirements and the veterinary certification for the import of birds other than poultry and the conditions for quarantine (doc. Sanco/1295/2000 - rev.6)

The purpose of the proposal is to establish the specific requirements for quarantine and a model health certificate for the introduction of birds, other than poultry, into the Community from third countries. Furthermore, to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases by these species, the proposal also lays down testing procedures and control measures in the case of positive findings during quarantine.

The draft had been submitted to the WTO for comments. These comments had been taken into consideration in the draft presented.

The vote was postponed.

20. 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. 9)

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.

The vote was postponed.

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)

Postponed.

21a. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision on marking and use of pigmeat in application of article 9 of Council Directive 80/217/EEC 4 concerning the United Kingdom (doc. Sanco/2500/2000)

Upon request from the UK, the Commission proposed to allow slaughter of pigs in the area surrounding the District of Old Buckenham in Norfolk, where all movements had been banned due to an outbreak of classical swine fever. The meat of these pigs should be given the normal health stamp and traded normally, in accordance with Article 3 of Council Directive 64/433/EEC 5 .

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

21b. Possibly, exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 2000/510/EC on community financial assistance towards the eradication of avian influenza in Italy in 1999 (doc. Sanco/2537/2000)

Postponed.

21c. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 97/778/EC and updating the list of border inspection posts approved for veterinary checks (doc. Sanco/2581/2000)

The purpose of the proposal was to include the airport of Prestwick (UK) in the list of border inspection posts approved for veterinary checks.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

22. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 94/360/EC on the reduced frequency of physical checks of consignments of certain products to be imported from Third Countries (doc. Sanco/2072/2000-rev.1)

Following the discovery, in April 1999, of traces of growth promoting hormones in meat imported from the USA, an enhanced system of controls on all imports of fresh bovine meat and offal had been put in place. After these events, the US authorities had put in place their Non Hormone Treated Cattle Programme. The additional controls have not resulted in a single positive sample being identified.

Therefore, the Commission proposed to remove the additional safeguard measures enacted in 1999 and to reduce the frequency of checks on fresh meat imported from the United States, from checks on all consignments to checks on 20% only of consignments. This level represents the normal level of physical checks for all fresh meat imported from third countries.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

23. 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 Commission distributed the above proposal for study and observation.

The purpose of the proposal is, in accordance with Council Decision 90/424/EEC 6 , to provide Community financial assistance to assist the newly established Community reference laboratory for Rabies (A.F.S.S.A., Nancy - France) in carrying out its functions and duties for a period of 6 months.

The discussion was postponed.

24. 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 7 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 draft distributed took account of the comments made during the expert meetings, which were held in July 2000.

25. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 93/402/EEC concerning animal health conditions and veterinary certification for imports of fresh meat from South American Countries to take into account some aspects regarding Chile (doc. Sanco/2005/2000)

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

The draft Decision aims to amend Decision 93/402/EEC by establishing the animal health conditions and the model of certificate to be required on imports into the EC of pig meat from Chile (see also point 18).

26. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision approving contingency plans for the control of avian influenza and newcastle disease (doc. Sanco/2411/2000)

Postponed.

27. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision amending for the second time Decision 92/532/EEC laying down the sampling plans and diagnostic methods for the detection and confirmation of certain fish diseases, as amended by Decision 96/240/EEC (VHS and IHN) (doc. Sanco/1965/2000)

Postponed.

28. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision laying down detailed rules for registration of holdings in national databases for porcine animals as foreseen by Council Directive 64/432/EEC 8 (doc. Sanco/1438/2000- rev.1)

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

Member States, which have not yet introduced an approved surveillance network system, shall ensure that a computer database is fully operational for

1. a register of holdings of porcine animals from 31 December 2000;

2. for movements of porcine animals from their holding of birth, by 31 December 2001; and

3. from all other holdings, by 31 December 2002.

The subject of this project is to fix the data that this database should contain concerning information on the registration of holdings with porcine animals (1).

The Commission requested to know from the Member States whether the information in Article 1 (e) should be mandatory or optional. Germany could not agree to the text. UK had reservations and wanted to consult. All the other Member States could agree to the text as it was proposed.

The Commission announced that the draft Decision would be put to the vote at the next SVC.

29. Miscellaneous

1. Upon request of France, the Commission announced that it would present a draft Decision in relation to provisional lists of third country establishments from which Member States authorise imports of gelatine intended for human consumption.

2. The Commission informed the Committee about:

- the West Nile fever situation in the U.S.A. (Doc. Sanco/2624/2000)

- modifications in the Animal health mission programme (FMD Turkey - October 2000)

- the publication of a call for tender for the purchase of FMD vaccine

- the state of affairs in relation to the supply of FMD vaccine to Turkey

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:

----------------------------------------

1 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

2 Council Directive 92/50/EEC of 18 June 1992 relating to the coordination of procedures for the award of public service contracts

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 Council Directive 80/217/EEC of 22 January 1980 introducing Community measures for the control of classical swine fever

5 Council Directive 64/433/EEC of 26 June 1964 on health problems affecting intra-Community trade in fresh meat

6 90/424/EEC: Council Decision of 26 June 1990 on expenditure in the veterinary field

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

8 Council Directive 64/432/EEC of 26 June 1964 on animal health problems affecting intra-Community trade in bovine animals and swine

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