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Food Safety

- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee

Short report of the meeting (2000/35) held in Brussels on 19-20 December 2000

President: Mr. Eric Poudelet

All the Member States were represented.

1. Information and exchange of views on the control and management systems of the co-financing of BSE tests.

The Commission recalled that Community legislation provides for the co-financing of two different measures:

  • testing of the animals at risk (reimbursement up to maximum 30 €)
  • testing of the healthy animals of over 30 months of age destined for human consumption (reimbursement up to maximum 15 €)

The Commission requested the Member States to provide information about:

  • the control systems which they plan to install as to verify the expenditures for both the parallel actions mentioned above
  • the reporting systems which they envisage for the control of the expenditures.

The Commission emphasised the importance of this exercise in order to ensure that each test is presented correctly within the framework of the corresponding measure and to avoid paying the same test twice.

The delegations informed the Committee about the control and reporting systems that they intend to set up.

2. Information and exchange of views on the preparation of the ban of the use of "processed animal proteins" in the feed for farm animals after 1/1/2001 (destruction of cadavers and mbm, recall of feed, etc.)

The Member States individually reported on the state of progress regarding the preparation of the ban of the use of processed animal protein in the feed for farm animals as from 01/01/2001. Most of the Member States seemed to be able to cope with the storage and subsequent destruction of the MBM.

3. Information on a mission carried out in Thailand from 28 November to 1 December in order to assess facilities for de-shelling bivalve molluscs (follow-up to mission DG(Sanco)/1191/2000. Presentation of the draft mission report. (doc. DG(Sanco)/1308/2000)

The Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The objective of the mission was to evaluate the construction and operation of new facilities approved by the competent authority of Thailand for de-shelling bivalve molluscs prior to processing for export to the Community.

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

Subsequent to the mission team's recommendations, the Commission proposed to write to the Thai authorities to inform them that the ban on export of bivalve molluscs could be lifted. The Member States agreed to this approach.

4. Information on the system for transmission of information concerning fraudulent health certificates

The Commission recalled the appearance of fraudulent certificates for fishery products from South Africa. Up until now, pre-notifications of the certificates issued by the SABS were issued via the Rapid Alert System. The Commission informed the Member States that as from January 2001 onwards, they would receive notifications from fraudulent imports through INFORVET (for animal products). Member States were also requested to inform the Commission of the detection of fraudulent import certificates and all relevant additional information concerning imports in the pass, related to the same product, same establishment, same origin, etc. The Commission would then transmit this information to the other Member States and would launch a query to investigate the possible fraud.

5. Exchange of view and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision concerning certain protection measures with regard to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and the use of certain processed animal protein in animal feed (Sanco/4260/2000-rev.4)

Council Decision 2000/766/EC prohibits the feeding of processed animal proteins to certain farmed animals. This prohibition does however not apply to all processed animal proteins. The same Decision also allows Member States to use processed animal protein for animals not destined for human consumption. It is therefore necessary that certain conditions be established to ensure that proteins, which do not fall under the scope of the above Decision, cannot be used for non authorised purposes.

In the light of what precedes, the proposal aimed to lay down:

  • control rules for the feeding of fishmeal to farmed animals other than ruminants;
  • production conditions and control rules for the feeding of dicalcium phosphate and hydrolysed proteins to farmed animals other than ruminants;
  • control rules for trade, use, importation and exportation of processed animal proteins intended for animals not kept, fattened or bred for the production of food.

Vote: 65 votes in favour;10 votes against; 12 abstentions

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.3)

Chapter 9 of Annex I to Directive 92/118/EEC lays downs importation requirements for lard and rendered fats. Council Decision 1999/534/EC 1 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 2 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.

Upon request of several Member States, the Commission agreed to await the opinion of the Scientific Committee on the use of certain products (spinal cord,...), before submitting the proposal for a formal 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.2)

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.

Considering the conclusion reached for the previous point, the proposal was not submitted for an opinion.

8. Exchange of view and possible opinion of the Committee on draft Commission Decision amending Decision 94/278/EC, drawing up a list of Third Countries from which Member States authorize the imports of certain products subject to Council Directive 92/118/EEC (honey) (Sanco/4271/2000)

Decision 94/278/EC establishes that Member States shall authorise imports of honey from any third country. However, according to Council Directive 96/23/EC, the list of third countries should be limited to those countries, which have submitted a plan providing sufficient guarantees as regards the monitoring of residues. These third countries are listed in Decision 2000/159/EC as last amended by Decision 2001/31/EC. It is therefore appropriate to authorise imports of honey only from third countries which comply with Directive 96/23/EC. The Commission proposed to amend Decision 94/278/EC accordingly.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

9. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 2000/764/EC on the testing of bovine animals for the presence of B.S.E. and updating annex IV of Decision 98/272/EC on epidemio-surveillance for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (doc. Sanco/4257/2000-rev.3)

The Commission explained that Decision 2000/374/EC introduced post-mortem testing in certain risk groups of animals with the objective of improving the detection of BSE in the Community. Furthermore, Decision 2000/764/EC extends the testing to all bovine animals over 30 months of age entering the food chain as a direct public health protection measure. The draft Decision presented intended to clarify the arrangements for implementing these tests.

The proposal aimed to clarify that any sampling for BSE in bovine animals must be carried out in accordance with the standards already laid down in Community legislation. It further specifies that any laboratory testing for the presence of BSE in bovine animals must take place in laboratories approved by the Member State concerned. Where the initial test result is positive or inconclusive, confirmatory testing must take place in official laboratories, which must immediately report all positive BSE cases to the competent authority. The proposal also clarifies the controls to be carried out by the national reference laboratories and the Commission in this regard.

In addition, the proposal aimed to clarify that the obligation to sample animals at risk applies also where those animals are purchased for destruction. Finally, it sets out that the health marking of bovine carcasses for human consumption should be delayed until a negative test result has been received, where the animal has been subject to an examination for BSE, unless an alternative system is in place in the slaughterhouse, ensuring that the carcasses are kept until the result has been received.

Vote: 77 votes in favour; 10 abstentions.

10. 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/3993/2000 - rev 1)

Since Council Directive 96/23/EC provides that aquaculture products shall be included in the monitoring plan for residues of veterinary drugs Decision 2000/159/EC indicates the third countries which have a provisional approval of such a plan, and Decision 97/296/EC lists the countries and territories from which importation of fishery products, including aquaculture products, are authorised, it is necessary to amend Decision 97/296/EC to include the requirement that import of aquaculture products shall only be authorised from third countries which are listed in both Decisions.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

11. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 95/328/EC establishing health certification for fishery products from Third Countries which are not yet covered by a specific Decision (doc. Sanco/4147/2000)

The draft Decision aims to prolong the validity of the certification for fishery products from third countries which are not yet covered by a specific Decision until 31 December 2003. This extension brings the validity date of the certification in line with the expiry date of the provisional list of third countries which might be subject to a provisional decision based on Decision 95/408/EC.

Furthermore and subsequent to the favourable opinion given to the draft Decision presented under point 10, the model health certificate provided by Decision 95/328/EC should be amended to include the identification of the aquaculture products, when necessary. The model health certificate should also be amended to bring it in line with the model of health certificates usually provided for fishery products imported from third countries covered by a specific Decision.

The draft Decision presented aimed to cover all these issues.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

12. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 96/333/EC establishing health certification of live bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods from Third Countries which are not yet covered by a specific Decision (doc. Sanco/4148/2000)

The draft Decision aims to prolong the validity of the certification for live bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods from third countries which are not yet covered by a specific Decision until 31 December 2003. This extension brings the validity date of the certification in line with the expiry date of the provisional list of third countries which might be subject to a provisional decision based on Decision 95/408/EC.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

13. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision concerning emergency measures made necessary by the occurrence of B.S.E. in Portugal (doc. Sanco/4258/2000)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. Decision 98/653/EC prohibits the dispatch and export of bovine products from Portugal. The Commission indicated that the O.I.E. Code recommends that bovine meat and meat products can only be traded from countries or zones classified as having a high incidence of BSE under certain strict conditions. Portugal is considered to fulfil these conditions and has now presented a proposal for a date-based export scheme with a view to permitting, subject to certain conditions, the dispatch of products from bovine animals born after a certain date (01/07/1999). The draft Decision aims to approve the scheme. The Commission also explained that the FVO will assess the measures for implementation of the export scheme and the offspring cull before the dispatch of meat and meat products may commence. If that examination is satisfactory, the Commission will set the date on which dispatch can start.

14. Miscellaneous

  1. Germany reported a new confirmed case of BSE in an animal born in 1995. Furthermore, the German delegate mentioned two suspect cases, one of which was confirmed during the meeting.
  2. Austria informed the Committee of its intention to take specific measures, based on the BSE situation in Germany.
  3. Several Member States questioned the Commission as to the state of play in relation to establishment lists in certain third countries (Slovakia, Bulgaria, China). The Commission said to be working on the issue.
  4. Italy requested clarification regarding importation of casings from third countries as from 31/03/2001.
  5. UK and NL asked for the 2001 programme of FVO visits to the border inspection posts.
  6. Germany wanted to know which measures have to be taken in the slaughterhouses if there is a positive reading of a BSE test.
  7. Germany also mentioned the existence of new technology, which would prevent the split of the spinal cord.
  8. The Commission explained the implications for veterinary legislation following the favourable opinion given by the Standing Committee on Food on a Regulation establishing limit values for 7 contaminants.
  9. France distributed a document titled "Analyse intermédiaire du programme pilote de dépistage de l'ESB grâce à un test de détection rapide de la PrPres"

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 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

2 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

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- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee
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