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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee 

Short report of the meeting (2000/32) held in Brussels on 21-22 November 2000

President: Mrs. Paola Testori Coggi for point 9; Mr. Jens Nymand-Christensen for points 1 to 3 and 10 to 15; Mr. Eric Poudelet for the other points.

All the Member States were represented.

1. Information - sanitary guarantees provided by Thailand competent authority as regards the fishery products imported from this country. (doc Sanco/3897/2000)

The Commission distributed a copy of a letter from the Thailand competent authority providing information in relation to the actions taken in attempt to avoid contamination of fishery products by Vibria cholerae and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The Commission reminded that Thailand had banned export of bivalve molluscs to the EU following findings of microbial contamination and the results of the inspection visit carried out in August.

2. Information - bivalve molluscs: anatomical distribution of the asp toxin in scallops. Report of the Working group meeting of 25 October. (doc Sanco/4024/2000-rev.1)

The Commission presented the conclusions of the meeting of the ASP working group, held in Brussels on 25 October 2000. The Commission also outlined that future works in order to define a sampling and analytical procedure are being carried out and that a new meeting of the working group is scheduled for January.

3. 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)

The Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The objective of the mission was to find out the capacities and resources of the competent authority in relation to residues -particularly pesticides- in fish (Nile perch) coming from Lake Victoria. The inspection also assessed the reliability of the certification system for freedom from pesticide residues in fish.

The Commission presented the conclusions and the complementary guarantees received from the Kenyan authorities and formulated a number of recommendations (see also point 10).

4. Information of the Committee on british beef consignments towards Belgium

The UK delegation presented a detailed report on the events surrounding export, to Belgium, of minced beef in contravention of Commission Decision 98/256/EC 1 . The investigation revealed that three consignments of frozen mince, totalling 9.860 kg, were dispatched to a Belgian meat product plant to be processed into paté. The finished product was intended to be re-dispatched on UK market. The Belgian authorities had found no evidence that the frozen beef imported from the UK was sent to other Member States or third countries, unprocessed or in the form of paté. For their part, the UK authorities could find no evidence that the paté returned to the UK from Belgium had been exported to EU Member States or third countries.

5. At the request of the Finnish delegation, information about imports of ratite meat

The Finnish delegation had put a number of questions in relation to imports of ratite meat:

  • Does Decision 2000/609/EC 2 apply also to meat preparations from ratite meat?
  • Is the list of countries (and establishments) the same for meat preparations as for meat?
  • Can the veterinary certificate in Decision 2000/572/EC 3 be used for meat preparations from farmed ratite?

The Commission provided the requested information.

6. Information from France on new measures introduced to control BSE and the scientific basis for those measures

This point was already discussed at the SVC of 15 November 2000.

7. Information and exchange of views on the outcome of the inquiry into Member States' national rules on the marking of meat products manufactured from british beef

The Commission summarised the results of the inquiry carried out in the Member States as regards the marking of meat products manufactured from British beef.

Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg have introduced national rules ensuring additional marking of meat dispatched from the UK under the DBES/ECHS and products derived from that meat. The additional mark used is similar to the additional mark applied to such meat by the UK before dispatch (XEL). Spain is in the process of introducing such rules. The Dutch authorities declare that establishments dispatching British beef or products derived from such beef to other Member States will be obliged to apply an additional mark to such beef or products. Italy has put in place a specific procedure to ensure that the traceability of DBES and ECHS meat is maintained. Greece has not so far introduced additional rules on labelling of products manufactured from British beef. Denmark and Sweden believe that the present Community legislation on labelling of beef and minced beef is sufficient. In view of the Finnish authorities, additional marking of British beef or products cannot be implemented without amending Community legislation. The national legislation of France prohibits the import of DBES meat or products. Additional labelling of ECHS meat or products derived from such meat is required under the national French legislation.

The UK had confirmed that the quantities of DBES beef dispatched or exported from the UK have so far been limited. All beef consignments have consisted of high quality meat, which for economic reasons are unlikely to be used in the manufacture of meat products.

The Commission encouraged the development of voluntary legislation in the Member States.

8. Information - list of Icelandic establishments approved as fish plants and vessels as of November 2000 (doc. Sanco/3883/2000)

The Commission distributed the above list.

9. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision concerning the B.S.E. situation in the Member States

Subsequent to the conclusions of the Agricultural Council of 20-21 November 2000, the Commission introduced the following proposals:

1. Draft Commission Decision prohibiting the use of certain animal by-products in animal feed (Doc. Sanco/4032/2000 - Rev.2)

The purpose of the proposal was to prohibit the use of certain animal waste for the production of feed for farmed animals, as from 1 March 2001. This prohibition would include the use of:

(a) all bovine animals, pigs, goats, sheep, solipeds, poultry, farmed fish and all other animals kept for agricultural production which have died on the farm but were not slaughtered for human consumption, including still born and unborn animals;

(b) the following dead animals: pet animals, zoo animals, circus animals and experimental animals;

(c) animals which are killed on the farm for disease control measure;

(d) without prejudice to instances of emergency slaughtering for reasons of welfare, farm animals which have died in transit.

Vote: 63 votes in favour; 14 votes against; 10 abstentions.

The Italian delegation made the following statement:

"La delegazione italiana, pur reputando la decisione un progresso per migliorare la sicurezza e la qualità dell'alimentazione animale, ritiene che, alla luce dei pareri del Comitato Scientifico Direttore su cui si basa la decisione, non sano tenere in conto misure importanti come l'esclusione di tutti i sottoprodotti di origine animale non ritenuti idonei al consumo umano.

La delegazione italiana fa notare a tal proposito la posizione favorevole del Parlamento europeo in materia. Pertanto la delegazione italiana se astiene."

English text (non-official translation):

"The Italian delegation, even if it considers that this decision represents a step forward to improve safety and quality in animal feedingstuffs, deems that in the light of the opinion of the Scientific Steering Committee on which this decision is based, important measures, such as the exclusion of all animal by-products not fit for human consumption, have not been taken into account.

The Italian delegation emphasises the favourable opinion of the European Parliament on this issue. Therefore the Italian delegation will abstain."

2. Draft Commission Decision on the testing of bovine animals for the presence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and amending Decision 98/272/EC on the epidemio-surveillance for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (Doc. Sanco/3989/2000 - Rev.5)

The Commission presented a draft Decision aiming to establish rules for applying tests on bovine animals at slaughter as a direct public health protection measure with a view to prevent animals infected with BSE in the clinical phase or close to the clinical phase from entering the human food chain. It was proposed to introduce the testing of animals at slaughter in two phases:

1. as of 1 January 2001, testing of all bovine animals over 30 months of age subject to special emergency slaughter or displaying clinical signs of disease at normal slaughter. Bovine animals over 30 months of age which die on farms or in transport would be subject to random testing;

2. as of 1 July 2001, testing of all bovine animals over 30 months of age subject to normal slaughter for human consumption.

Before starting the second phase, the Commission will evaluate the results obtained in the first phase and possibly present a proposal to the SVC with a view to modify the number of animals to be tested in the second phase.

Vote: 77 votes in favour; 10 votes against.

10. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision repealing the 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-rev.2)

Following the results of a veterinary inspection visit on the spot and the guarantees provided by the Kenyan authorities, the Commission proposed to repeal the protection measures established by Decision 1999/253/EC. Nevertheless, the Commission also proposed to complete the health certificates accompanying the imports of fishery products from or originating in Kenya, adding a specific reference to the checking and the control of residues of pesticides in Nile perch.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

11. 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 Jamaica (doc. Sanco/3898/2000-rev.1)

Following an inspection visit to Jamaica, the Commission proposed that special conditions be laid down for imports of fishery products, including marine gastropods (see point 14), 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.

12. 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 Czech Republic (doc. Sanco/3899/2000-rev.3)

Following an inspection visit to the Czech Republic, 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.

In addition, as the EU imports mainly live freshwater fish from fish farms, the Commission proposed to lay down specific import conditions and certification requirements to prevent the introduction of disease affecting aquaculture animals in the Community.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

13. 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/3900/2000-rev.1)

The Commission proposed to add the Czech Republic and Jamaica to part I of the Annex to Commission Decision 97/296/EC (see proposals voted under points 11 and 12). 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 4 .

In addition, considering the seriousness of the deficiencies observed during an inspection visit to St. Vincent and The Grenadines, the Commission proposed to delete this country from the list.

Furthermore, considering the results of the inspection visit to Granada and the recommendation of the inspection report to re-asses the situation by a new inspection visit on-the-spot, the Commission proposed Member States to keep Granada on the Part II of the Annex to the Commission Decision 97/296. The Member States agreed.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

The following statement was made:

"The Member States and the European Commission agree that, until the 3 rd of January 2001, imports of fishery products originating from Venezuela, Namibia, Iran or Poland may be accompanied by a health certificate in accordance with the model laid down by Commission Decisions 2000/672/EC 5 , 2000/673/EC, 2000/675/EC and 2000/676/EC respectively or in accordance with the model laid down by Commission Decision 95/328/EC 6 ."

14. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision laying down special conditions for the import of marine gastropods originating in Jamaica (doc. Sanco/3901/2000-rev.1)

Based on the results of an inspection visit to Jamaica and on the guarantees received from the Jamaican authorities, the Commission introduced a proposal designating the competent authority responsible for controlling and listing the production areas from which marine gastropods can be harvested for exports to the EU. The authorised production areas are listed in the Annex to the present proposal. The list of establishments and the model of health certificate are laid down by the proposal voted under point 11.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

15. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 97/20/EC 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 (doc. Sanco/3902/2000-rev.1)

The proposal voted under point 11 lays down special conditions for the import of marine gastropods originating in Jamaica. The Commission therefore proposed to include Jamaica in part I of the list to Decision 97/20/EC.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

16. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision concerning a specific financial contribution by the Community relating to the surveillance programme of campylobacter in broilers presented by Sweden (doc. Sanco/2789/2000-rev.1)

The Commission presented a draft Decision based on articles 19 and 20 (technical and scientific measures necessary for the development of Community veterinary legislation) of Decision 90/424/EEC 7 aiming to provide financial assistance to Sweden in order to cover certain costs of laboratory testing, related to the implementation of the surveillance programme of campylobacter in broilers during 2001. The purpose of the programme is, through preventive measures, reduce the occurrence of campylobacter in the food chain, starting with the primary production and in the long run develop a campylobacter free production system.

Vote: 77 votes in favour; 10 abstentions.

17. 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.3)

The point was withdrawn from the agenda.

18. 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.2)

The point was withdrawn from the agenda.

19. 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.4)

According to Council Directive 96/23/EC 8 , 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.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

20. Exchange of views on a 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.3)

The point was withdrawn from the agenda.

21. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision establishing health conditions and a public health certificate for the importation from Third Countries of eggs intended for human consumption (doc. Sanco/3105/2000)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. The purpose of the draft Decision is to lay down the public health conditions and the model public health certificate for the importation of eggs for human consumption.

22. Miscellaneous

1. Denmark and Italy requested clarification concerning trade of rennet. The Commission indicated that there were no harmonised rules for the trade of this product.

2. Belgium announced that a FMD exercise would be held on 30/11/2000, together with the Netherlands.

3. Sweden questioned the Commission regarding the measures to take on importation of snakes.

4. Italy tabled a problem of certification from New Zealand.

5. The UK tabled an issue concerning controls on BSE in relation to food aid.

6. The Commission updated the Committee on the suspicion of butter fraud in Italy. Investigations confirmed that certain irregularities have been committed. However, no toxic samples have been found.

7. The Commission also updated the Committee on the fraudulent import certificates from South Africa. The Member States were requested to thoroughly check products and certificates from South Africa and to immediately inform the Commission of fraudulent consignments.

8. The Commission presented a proposal amending Decision 97/296/EC in relation to residues in aquaculture products from third countries (Doc. Sanco/3993/2000). Most of the Member States were favourably inclined to the proposal but wanted to study the document.

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 98/256/EC: Council Decision of 16 March 1998 concerning emergency measures to protect against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, amending Decision 94/474/EC and repealing Decision 96/239/EC

2 2000/609/EC: Commission Decision of 29 September 2000 laying down animal and public health conditions and veterinary certification for imports of farmed ratite meat amending Decision 94/85/EC drawing up a list of third countries from which the Member States authorise imports of fresh poultry meat

3 2000/572/EC: Commission Decision of 8 September 2000 laying down animal and public health conditions and veterinary certification for imports of minced meat and meat preparations from third countries and repealing Decision 97/29/EC

4 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

5 2000/672/EC: Commission Decision of 20 October 2000 laying down special conditions governing imports of fishery products originating in Venezuela

6 95/328/EC: Commission Decision of 25 July 1995 establishing health certification for fishery products from third countries which are not yet covered by a specific decision

7 90/424/EEC: Council Decision of 26 June 1990 on expenditure in the veterinary field

8 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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