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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee 

Short report of the meeting (2000/25) held in Brussels on 19-20 September 2000

President: Mr. Eric Poudelet

All the Member States were represented, except Belgium for point 12.

1. Information and exchange of views on the co-financing of BSE monitoring programmes in 2001

a. The Commission announced its intention to propose co-financing by the Community for the new BSE surveillance programmes in 2001 as laid down in Decision 2000/374/EC 1 . The Commission's proposal was to finance the test kits and reagents for 100%.

b. Decision 2000/374/EC also fixes the minimal sample size. Some Member States have expressed the wish to take more samples than the minimum established in the Decision. The Commission encouraged this initiative and invited other Member States to express their interest to increase the number of samples before 30 September 2000.

c. The UK delegation provided updated information in relation to the BSE case in a cow born after 01/08/1996, date of implementation of the feed ban which restricted feeding of all mammalian protein to any farmed species. The delegate said that extensive testing in feed mills and in farms enforced the ban in the UK. Investigation on other sources of infection gave negative results. Nothing suggested that this particular infection was feed borne. All this led to the tentative conclusion that maternal transmission could not be excluded.

2. Information - hepatitis a in bivalve molluscs from Peru

The Commission explained the measures put in place and the guarantees provided by the Peruvian authorities, following the detection, in Spain, of hepatitis A contamination in consignments of bivalve molluscs coming from Peru. It appeared from the information received that the authorities in Peru could guarantee that exported products would meet the EU requirements and that the export suspension could be withdrawn.

The Spanish delegation reported on the results of a meeting with the Peruvian authorities and confirmed that there was no problem for Peru to resume export of bivalve molluscs.

The Commission proposed to write to Peru indicating that the measures taken seemed to have generated satisfactory results and that on that basis, export of bivalve molluscs could be resumed. The Commission would also insist that the measures be continued and announce that an FVO inspection mission was being prepared. The Member States agreed to this approach.

3. Information - list of San Marino establishments and vessels approved as of May 2000 (doc. Sanco/2347/2000)

The Commission distributed the above list.

4. Information on a mission carried out in Kazakhstan concerning fishery products - presentation of the mission report (Sanco/1004/2000) (j.k.)

The Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The objective of the mission was to carry out a re-assessment on the implementation of Council Directive 91/493/EEC 2 on fishery products.

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

5. Information on a mission carried out in Belize from 27 to 31 March 2000 for the purpose of assessing the conditions of production of fishery products- presentation of the mission report (doc. Dg(Sanco)/1038/2000)

The Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The objective of the mission was to carry out an evaluation of the system of control of fishery and aquaculture products originating in Belize and intended for export to the EC, with a view to deciding whether the country can be added to part I of the list of third countries approved for export to the EC, included on the Annex of Commission Decision 97/296/EC 3

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

6. Information on a mission carried out in Thailand from 25 July to 04 August 2000 for the purpose of assessing the conditions of production of fishery products and bivalve molluscs- presentation of the mission report (doc. Dg(Sanco)/1191/2000 - draft (or final))

The Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The aim of the mission was to assess the system of control of fishery products and bivalve molluscs originating in Thailand and intended for export to the EC. The mission was carried out with a view to deciding whether the country

1. can be added to part I of the list of third countries approved for export of fishery product to the EC, contained in the Annex to Commission Decision 97/296/EC and

2. can be added to part I of the list of third countries approved for export of marine gastropods to the EC, contained in the Annex to Commission Decision 97/20/EC 4 .

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

7. 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 Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The objective of the mission was to assess the performance of the competent authority in four specified food sectors (meat products, minced meat, meat preparations and casings) taking into account the findings of previous missions.

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

8. Information on (1) a mission to Brazil from 18 to 29 October 1999 in relation to the evaluation of the operation of controls over the production of fresh meat and meat products and (2) a follow-up mission to Brazil from 8 to 12 May- presentation of the mission reports (Dg(Sanco)/1173/1999 and 1174/2000)

The Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The objective of the first mission was to assess the performance of the competent authority in two specified food sectors (fresh meat and meat products) taking into account the findings of previous missions. The second mission was carried out as a follow-up mission in order to evaluate the reaction of the competent authority to the previous mission and was also intended to visit the horse slaughterhouses.

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

9. Information and exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision laying down performance criteria for the analythical methods to be used for detecting certain substances and residues thereof in live animals and animal products according to Council Directive 96/23/EC 5 repealing Commission Decisions 90/515/EC, 93/256/EC and 93/257/EC. (doc. Sanco/1805/2000)

The Commission explained that the document had been distributed in the last Standing Veterinary Committee (Public Health) which was held on 18.07.2000. It was agreed in that SVC that the methods of analyses had to be revised by the NRL experts(National Reference Laboratories). From that day only Belgium and UK have been sending comments. The final amended document was not yet available and it is expected for the next SVC for vote.

10. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending chapter 9 of annex i 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 (doc.Sanco/1434/2000 rev.1)

Chapter 9 of Annex I to Directive 92/118/EEC lays downs importation requirements for lard and rendered fats. Council Decision 1999/534/EC 6 lays down requirements for the production of rendered fat from ruminant animals. The same requirements should apply for the importation of this product into the Community. It was therefore proposed to amend the above mentioned Chapter 9.

Furthermore, it is necessary to lay down specific rules for the importation of rendered fat derived from ruminant animals which will be finally processed by a method which at least meets the standards laid down in Annex II to Council Decision 1999/534/EC. Article 8(4) of Council Directive 97/78/EC 7 establishes conditions for forwarding certain products, which are to be monitored from the border inspection post of arrival to the establishment at the place of destination.

The proposal also lays down specific animal health rules governing the importation of fish oils.

The Commission noted the Member States' comments.

11. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision establishing health certificates and declaration of the importer for the importation from Third Countries of rendered fat and fish oil (doc.Sanco/1433/2000)

The draft Decision establishes the health certificates and declaration from the importer, which are to accompany consignments of rendered fat and fish oil intended for importation from third countries into the Community.

The Commission noted the Member States' comments.

12. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 94/278/EC drawing up a list of Third Countries from which Member States authorise imports of certain products subject to Council Directive 92/118/EEC. (Equator - Snail) (doc.Sanco/2489/2000)

The Commission proposed to add Ecuador to the list of third countries from which Member States authorise imports of snails intended for human consumption. The health guarantees provided by the Ecuadorian authorities are considered adequate to justify the inclusion of that country on that list.

Vote: 82 votes in favour; 5 votes absent.

13. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 93/495/EEC laying down special conditions governing imports of fishery products originating in Canada (doc sanco/2091/2000)

Following a restructuring of the Canadian government, the competent authority for health certificates for fishery products has changed. The Commission therefore proposed to modify the nomination of the competent authority in Commission Decision 93/495/EEC. Furthermore, the Commission proposed to harmonise the wording Decision 93/495/EC with the wording of the more recently adopted Commission Decisions, laying down special conditions governing imports of fishery and aquaculture products originating in certain third countries.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

14. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 94/323/EC laying down special conditions governing imports of fishery products originating in Singapore (doc Sanco/2084/2000)

Following a restructuring of the Singapore government, the competent authority for health certificates for fishery products has changed. The Commission therefore proposed to modify the nomination of the competent authority in Commission Decision 94/323/EEC. Furthermore, the Commission proposed to harmonise the wording Decision 94/323/EC with the wording of the more recently adopted Commission Decisions, laying down special conditions governing imports of fishery and aquaculture products originating in certain third countries.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

15. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision laying down special conditions for the imports of fishery products originating in the Islamic Republic of Iran (doc. Sanco/2348/2000-rev.1)

Following an inspection visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Commission proposed that special conditions be laid down for imports of fishery products from or originating in that country into the Community and in particular that a specimen health certificate and a list of approved establishments, factory vessels, cold stores and registered freezer vessels be drawn up.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

16. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision laying down special conditions for the imports of fishery products originating in Venezuela (doc. Sanco/2218/2000-rev.1)

Following an inspection visit to Venezuela, the Commission proposed that special conditions be laid down for imports of fishery products from or originating in that country into the Community and in particular that a specimen health certificate and a list of approved establishments, factory vessels, cold stores and registered freezer vessels be drawn up.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

17. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision laying down special conditions for the imports of fishery products originating in Poland (doc. Sanco/2388/2000-rev.1)

Following an inspection visit to Poland, the Commission proposed that special conditions be laid down for imports of fishery products from or originating in that country into the Community and in particular that a specimen health certificate and a list of approved establishments, factory vessels, cold stores and registered freezer vessels be drawn up.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

18. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision laying down special conditions for the imports of fishery products originating in Namibia (doc. Sanco/2402/2000-rev.1)

Following an inspection visit to Namibia, the Commission proposed that special conditions be laid down for imports of fishery products from or originating in that country into the Community and in particular that a specimen health certificate and a list of approved establishments, factory vessels, cold stores and registered freezer vessels be drawn up.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

19. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 97/296/EC drawing up the list of Third Countries from which the import of fishery products is authorized for human consumption (doc. Sanco/2412/2000-rev.1)

The Commission proposed to add Iran, Venezuela, Poland and Namibia to part I of the Annex to Commission Decision 97/296/EC. Part I of the Annex lists the names of the countries and territories covered by a specific Decision taken on the basis of Directive 91/493/EC (see draft Decisions voted under points 15 to 18.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

20. Possibly, exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision approving the plan for the monitoring and control of salmonella in fowl presented by Spain (Sanco/2123/2000)

The point was withdrawn from the agenda.

21. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision approving the plan for the monitoring and control of salmonella in fowl presented by France (Sanco/2120/2000)

The Commission introduced a draft Decision aiming to approve the plan for the monitoring and control of salmonella in fowl presented by France.

The Commission made a description of the main elements of the plan (the technical elements of the plan had been discussed in a working group of the SVC on 4.9.00).

In particular, reference was made to the two elements of the programme: compulsory part containing monitoring and control provisions on flocks (incl. action on infected flocks), but also voluntary part containing specific requirements regarding hygienic conditions in farms ("charte sanitaire"). Individual adhesion of farmers to "charte sanitaire" is a pre-requirement for farmers to obtain financial support from the state under the programme. A condition for the "charte sanitaire" is related to the origin of animals/hatching eggs destined to the farmer: they have to come from suppliers who also adhere to the "charte sanitaire". The French delegation confirmed upon request from the Commission that this does apply only to suppliers established in France. For animals/eggs introduced from other countries, only the provisions established under Directive 90/539/EEC 8 and 92/117/EEC 9 apply.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

21a. 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 already been given a technical agreement by the Committee and had been submitted to the WTO for comments. These comments have been taken into consideration in the draft presented.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

21b. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee 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. 11)

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, as of 01/10/2000.

The draft had already been given a technical agreement by the Committee and had been submitted to the WTO for comments. These comments have been taken into consideration in the draft presented.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

21c. 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)

By Decision 2000/510/EC an advance payment of Community financial assistance to Italy has been made available in relation to the costs for the eradication of avian influenza in 1999. The granting of this financial assistance was linked with the presentation of certain epidemiological and financial documents before 1 September 2000. Italy has, however, experienced difficulties in the submission of the requested documents before the fixed date.

The Commission therefore proposed, upon request of Italy, to extend the period allowed for the submission of the relevant documents until 1 October 2000.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

22. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision drawing up provisional lists of Third Country establishments from which the Member States authorise imports of gelatine intended for human consumption (doc.Sanco/2499/2000)

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

The purpose of the draft Decision is to draw up provisional lists of establishments producing gelatine for human consumption in accordance with the procedure laid down in Council Decision 95/408/EEC 10 . The Commission explained that certain third countries have provided guarantees that their establishments fully meet the relevant Community health requirements. In order to allow the time necessary to carry out Community inspections to verify that the establishments comply with Community provisions and to avoid disruption in trade, the Commission proposed to draw up the provisional lists mentioned above.

23. Exchange of views on an amendment to Commission Decision 97/778/EC 11 (list of border inspection posts). (doc Sanco /2512/2000)

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

The Commission explained that a working group of experts has been considering a general update of Decision 97/778/EC on the border inspections posts. The draft Decision presented was the result of the working party.

24. Miscellaneous

1. Upon request of the Netherlands, the Commission provided information as regards cases of West Nile fever detected in horses in Camargue region, France. Three provinces are under restriction (movement control).

2. The Netherlands also wanted to be informed on the state of play concerning the absence of a list of poultry establishments in China. The Commission replied that guarantees have to be provided and that if these were adequate, a list of establishments would be drawn up.

3. Denmark and Italy sought clarification in relation to trade in rennet (enzyme curdling milk). The Commission answered that a meeting with the European industry was planned on 29/09/2000.

4. UK wanted to know the Commission's comments on the progress concerning certain issues in relation to the Reference Laboratories for marine biotoxines.

5. The Commission informed the Member States about the findings of cadmium in squid from the Falkland Islands.

6. The Commission also informed the Committee of its intention to write a letter to Romania suggesting that the self imposed ban on certain fresh meat and meat products could be lifted on the basis of the guarantees provided.

7. The Commission reported an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (O1) in the south east of South Africa.

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 2000/374/EC: Commission Decision of 5 June 2000 amending Decision 98/272/EC on epidemio-surveillance for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies

2 Council Directive 91/493/EEC of 22 July 1991 laying down the health conditions for the production and the placing on the market of fishery products

3 97/296/EC: Commission Decision of 22 April 1997 drawing up the list of third countries from which the import of fishery products is authorized for human consumption

4 97/20/EC: Commission Decision of 17 December 1996 establishing the list of third countries fulfilling the equivalence conditions for the production and placing on the market of bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods

5 Council Directive 96/23/EC of 29 April 1996 on measures to monitor certain substances and residues thereof in live animals and animal products and repealing Directives 85/358/EEC and 86/469/EEC and Decisions 89/187/EEC and 91/664/EEC

6 99/534/EC: Council Decision of 19 July 1999 on measures applying to the processing of certain animal waste to protect against transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and amending Commission Decision 97/735/EC

7 Council Directive 97/78/EC of 18 December 1997 laying down the principles governing the organisation of veterinary checks on products entering the Community from third countries

8 Council Directive 90/539/EEC of 15 October 1990 on animal health conditions governing intra-Community trade in, and imports from third countries of, poultry and hatching eggs

9 Council Directive 92/117/EEC of 17 December 1992 concerning measures for protection against specified zoonoses and specified zoonotic agents in animals and products of animal origin in order to prevent outbreaks of food-borne infections and intoxications

10 95/408/EC: Council Decision of 22 June 1995 on the conditions for drawing up, for an interim period, provisional lists of third country establishments from which Member States are authorized to import certain products of animal origin, fishery products or live bivalve molluscs

11 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

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