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Food Safety

- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee

Short report of the meeting (2000/33) held in Brussels on 30 November 2000

President: Mrs. Paola Testori Coggi

All the Member States were represented.

1. Information and exchange of views in relation to the BSE situation in the Community.

The Commission asked Spain and Germany to clarify the recent BSE cases identified in their countries, and to indicate the measures taken in relation to the original herds and the disposal of by-products.

Spain confirmed a BSE case of a cow born in 1995 and said that all herds on the farm of origin were killed, and descendants slaughtered. But as the cow concerned had never been to other farms, there was no need to slaughter animals from other farms.

Germany also confirmed that on 26 November 2000 voluntary testing identified a BSE case of a 4-year-old cow. All herds (66 animals) were killed on 27 November and the meat and by-products of animals slaughtered on the same day were put on hold. Prior to that, Portugal had reported on 23 November that an animal born in Germany had BSE. Germany was still checking this information.

2. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision approving the programmes for the monitoring for BSE presented for 2001 by the Member States and fixing the level of the community's financial contribution (doc. Sanco/3112/2000-rev.7)

The initial draft Decision aimed to individually approve the programmes for the monitoring of BSE qualifying for a financial contribution from the Community for 2001. The programmes qualifying for a financial contribution were listed in Decision 2000/639/EC 1 . The proposal also fixed the level and the upper limit of the contribution.

Following recent developments of the BSE situation, the Community has exceptionally agreed upon a revised testing programme. This programme, as laid down in Commission Decision 2000/764/EC 2 , foresees two testing phases. The first phase targets all cattle aged over 30 months subject to emergency slaughter or displaying clinical signs at slaughter as well as a random sample from dead-on-farm cattle, while the second phase should include also all bovine animals over 30 months of age subject to normal slaughter for human consumption.

The Commission proposed to financially support the tests of the first phase as laid down in Decision 2000/764/EC and increase the amounts laid down in Decision 2000/639/EC as to compensate the costs incurred in the Member States for the purchase of test-kits and reagents. The financial participation of the Community could be reviewed for the second phase, subsequent to the evaluation of the outcome of phase 1.

Vote: 69 votes in favour; 8 votes against; 10 abstentions.

The Commission made the following declaration:

"Compte tenu des délais extrêmement courts pour répartir les populations des bovins à risques à tester faisant l'objet du financement, la Commission s'engage à revoir, dès que possible, la répartition de l'enveloppe financière allouée entre les Etats Membres au plus tard au 1er juillet 2001, à la lumière des rapports fournis tous les 2 mois par les Etats Membres."

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

The Commission introduced the following proposals:

1. Draft Commission Decision 2000/418/EC regulating the use of material presenting risks as regards transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (Doc. Sanco/4116/2000-Rev.3)

The objective of the proposal was to extend the list of specified risk materials in all Member States to the entire intestine of bovine animals of all ages. In addition, bovine intestines were added to the list of products to which Decision 2000/418/EC will be applied as of 1 April 2001. The draft Decision is based on the recommendation of the Scientific Steering Committee that the entire bovine intestine should be considered as a specified risk material, regardless the age of the animal, in all cases where the exposure of the animal to the BSE agent is not negligible.

Vote: 66 votes in favour; 13 votes against; 8 abstentions.

2. Draft Commission Decision concerning certain protection measures with regard to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and the feeding of animal protein (Doc. Sanco/4137/2000-Rev.1)

The purpose of the proposal was to temporarily prohibit the use of animal protein in feed, pending a total re-evaluation of the implementation of Community legislation in Member States.

The Commission explained the background to the draft Decision. The new BSE cases of animals born after 1995 are an indication that controls were not observed strictly. This is confirmed by FVO reports, which indicate failure in some MS in implementing rules on meat and bone meal. An opinion of the SSC of 27-28 November 2000 recommended that a temporary ban of animal proteins in animal feed should be considered to avoid risk of cross-contamination of cattle feed with feed destined to other animals and which contains animal proteins possibly contaminated by BSE agent. Such a ban would also harmonise the different unilateral measures being introduced by some MS.

Vote: 54 votes in favour; 22 votes against; 11 abstentions.

The proposal was not supported by a qualified majority in favour and was therefore to be submitted to the Council.

4. Miscellaneous

No issues raised.

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 2000/639/EC: Commission Decision of 13 October 2000 on the list of programmes for the monitoring of BSE qualifying for a financial contribution from the Community in 2001

2 2000/764/EC: Commission Decision of 29 November 2000 on the testing of bovine animals for the presence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and amending Decision 98/272/EC on epidemio-surveillance for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies

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- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee
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