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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee 

Short report of the meeting (2000/27) held in Brussels on 17 October 2000

President: Mrs. Paola Testori-Coggi for point 1; Mr. Willem Daelman for the other points.

All the Member States, except Spain, were represented.

1. Information on the state of play of the creation of the European Food Authority

The Commission informed the Committee about its intention to adopt, on 8 th November 2000, a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council in relation to the European Food Authority.

The Commission's representative explained that the draft Regulation consists of three main pillars:

1. to lay down the general principles of food law, covering all food (primary and processed) and feed;

2. to establish the European Food Authority, a scientific body responsible for collection of information and for risk assessment;

3. management of the Rapid Alert System, crisis management and emergency measures

The proposal also includes the establishment of a new overarching Standing Committee for food Safety and Animal Health

2. Information on a mission carried out in Kenya from 16-08 to 18-08-99 for the purpose of the assessment of control of pesticide residues in fish coming from Lake Victoria - presentation of the mission report (DG (Sanco)/1127/1999- mr final)

Postponed.

3. Information on a mission carried out in Jamaica from 3 to 7 April 2000 for the purpose of assessing the conditions of production of fishery products and marine gastropods - presentation of the mission report (DG(Sanco)/1166/2000 - mr final)

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 products and marine gastropods originating in Jamaica intended for export to the EC. The aim of this assessment was to decide whether the country could be added to part I of the list included in the Annexes to Decision 97/296/EC 1 for fishery products and 97/20/EC 2 for marine gastropods.

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

4. Oral presentation by the Commission on "the preliminary outcome of the reporting by Member States on sources and trends on zoonoses in 1999", according to Article 5.2 of Directive 92/117/EEC 3

The Commission informed the Committee about the preliminary outcome of the reporting by Member States and Norway on sources and trends on zoonoses in 1999. The CRL for epidemiology of zoonoses in finalising the draft report. The Commission pointed out that important information was still missing for several Member States and highlighted that, for the reliability of the exercise, it is necessary that data are made available. The Member States concerned were invited to send the missing info to the CRL and the Commission, before the end of October.

The Commission's delegate was nevertheless in a position to provide some information. No dramatic changes were noted, but there was a new situation in humans in the EU, where the number of cases reported to the population in the relevant reporting countries was higher for compylobacteriosis than for salmonellosis. The overall number of salmonellosis cases in humans decreased significantly from 1998 to 1999. The most important pathogens in the Community at the moment by the number of human cases are Salmonella and Campylobacter. The Commission also briefly broached the other zoonoses.

5. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision repealing Commission Decision 1999/253/EC on protective measures with regard to certain fishery products from or originating in Kenya and Tanzania and amending the health certification for fishery products originating or proceeding from Kenya (doc Sanco/2905/2000)

Postponed.

6. Exchange of view and possible opinion of the Committee on draft Commission Decision amending Annex i to Council Directive 92/118/EEC laying down animal health and public health requirements governing trade 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 (importation rules for rendered fats) (Sanco/1434/2000 rev.2)

Chapter 9 of Annex I to Directive 92/118/EEC lays downs importation requirements for lard and rendered fats. Council Decision 1999/534/EC 4 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 5 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 draft presented took account of some of the comments made by the Member States at the previous meeting.

The proposal was not submitted for an opinion.

7. Exchange of view and possible opinion of the Committee on draft Commission Decision laying down the certification or declaration for the import of rendered fats (Sanco/1433/2000 rev.1)

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 proposal was not submitted for an opinion.

8. Exchange of view and possible opinion of the Committee on Commission Decision drawing up provisional lists of third country establishments from which Member States authorise imports of gelatine intended for human consumption (Sanco/2499/2000 rev.1)

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 6 . 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.

The proposal was not submitted for an opinion.

9. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision modifying Commission Decision 2000/159/EC on the provisional approval of residue plans of Third Countries according to Council Directive 96/23/EC (Sanco/1813/2000-rev.3)

According to Council Directive 96/23/EC 7 , third countries should provide to the Commission their residue monitoring plan for the current year and results from the previous year. The Directive also requires that the Commission approves these monitoring plans and draws up a list with countries complying with the provisions of the Directive. To date, the Commission received monitoring plans, results, or information from a number of third countries. Other third countries have sent no information or totally insufficient information. The list of third countries complying with Directive 96/23/EC (see Decision 2000/159/EC) should be updated accordingly suspending third countries from which no information is available, and third countries which do not export animals or animal products to the EU.

The draft Decision proposes such an updated provisional list of third countries complying with Directive 96/23/EC.

The vote was postponed.

The Commission also explained the links between the residue Directive and public health Directives, lists of countries (by activity) and lists of establishments (also by activity). The Commission proposes the suspension of establishments from third countries which presented no guarantee for a specific activity.

The German delegation made the following statement:

"Die deutsche Delegation hält es aus Gründen des Verbraucherschutzes und der Äquivalenz für unerläßlich, dass aus Ländern, die keine oder keine ausreichenden Rückstandsgarantien abgegeben haben, entsprechend den Vorgaben der Richtlinie 96/23/EG auch keine Einfuhr in die EU mehr möglich ist und fordert die Kommission auf, schnellstmöglich einen entsprechenden Vorschlag vorzulegen."

(English text: „For reasons of consumer protection and equivalency, the German delegation deems it indispensable to prohibit imports from third countries, which have given no or unsatisfactory guarantees concerning residues according to the provisions of council directive 96/23/EC and asks the Commission to prepare an appropriate proposal as soon as possible")

10. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 97/778/EC and updating the list of border inspection posts approved for veterianry checks (doc. Sanco/2512/2000)

The purpose of the proposal was to update the list of all border inspection posts in the Community subsequent to inspection and recommendation by the FVO and to requests by Member States for deletions to the list. The draft Decision also makes a number of corrections to linguistic errors in the explanatory pages to the annex, and includes the border inspection posts of Vatry airport, France and Prestwick airport, UK.

Vote: 79 votes in favour; 8 votes absent.

11. Exchange of view on draft Commission Decision amending Annex ii to Council Directive 92/118/EEC laying down animal health and public health requirements governing trade 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 and amending Commission Decision 94/278/EEC drawing up a list of Third Countries from which Member States authorise imports of certain products subject to Council Directive 92/118/EEC (rules on honey) (sanco/489/2000 rev.2)

The Commission distributed and presented the above proposal for study and observation. The text presented takes account of some of the comments made by the Member States.

The scope of the draft Decision is to lay down the specific public health conditions applicable to trade and imports of honey intended for human consumption. The proposal also lays down a model health certificate for the importation of honey intended for human consumption and establishes the list of third countries from which Member States authorise imports of honey and which comply with Directive 96/23/EC.

The Commission informed the Member States that it would also be possible to deal with the issue under Council Directive 93/43/EEC on hygiene in foodstuffs. Most of the Member States however agreed to continue to work on the above draft Decision tabled by the Commission.

12. Miscellaneous

1. France informed the Committee about their intended measures in relation to SRM. The French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA) issued a recommendation to remove all intestines from bovine animals for human or animal consumption, disregarding the age of the animal. This is because BSE infectivity has been found in the so-called Peyer's patches, which are present as well in the ileum as in other parts of the intestines. Furthermore, a number of additional measures were being prepared, possibly imposing restrictions in relation to trade and imports of certain materials. The Commission said that the opinion of the AFSSA concerning the BSE risk of intestines had been submitted to the Scientific Steering Committee for evaluation.

2. The Commission informed the Committee about the use of a fraudulent certificate for fishery products issued in the name of the competent authority of South Africa. Other cases of alleged fraudulent certificates for products of animal origin imported from South Africa were raised, in particular the case of human blood imported with a sanitary certificate for animal blood. The Commission informed about its intention to further investigate the above. The delegations accepted the proposal of the South Africa authorities that they would send a copy of all the certificates issued concerning fishery products to the Member States. This would enable the authorities in the MS to detect forged certificates. This information will be transmitted by RAS

3. Belgium asked about the state of play concerning export to Canada. Member States had been asked to make lists to send to Canada. The Commission said that the matter would be looked into.

4. UK wanted to know if other Member States had commented on the report of the Coordination meeting of the National Reference Laboratories on marine biotoxines and in particular on the point concerning the presence of ASP in scallops. The Commission replied that no other MMSS have sent comments, even if it has been requested several times, The Commission also informed that the working group dealing with the question of the contamination of scallops with ASP will meet again on 25 October 2000. The matter would be followed up.

5. The Commission distributed the "Proposed surveillance programme presented by Sweden for Campylobacter in broilers" (Doc. Sanco/3062/2000), with request to study the document. The Commission's representative announced that a draft Decision would be presented intended to co-finance the laboratory analyses within the framework of the surveillance programme presented.

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

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1 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

2 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

3 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

4 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

5 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

6 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

7 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

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