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Food Safety

- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee

Short report of the meeting (2001/02) held in Brussels on 16-17 January 2001

President: Mr. Bernard Van Goethem

All the Member States were represented.

1. Exchange of views of the Committee on the evolution of animal diseases in the Community including:

Swine vesicular disease

Italy

The Italian delegation reported 4 outbreaks of SVD and explained the measures in force, with particular emphasis on movement restrictions.

Newcastle disease

Italy

The Italian delegation reported 3 further outbreaks of ND (total = 258 outbreaks). The delegate also confirmed that the following declaration was maintained:

"Considering the epidemiological situation regarding Newcastle disease presented by the Italian delegation at the Standing Veterinary Committee meeting of 17 January 2001 and on basis of the discussion and the conclusions made there:

Italy will ensure to continue the compulsory vaccination programme against Newcastle disease established in the regions of Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardia, Marche, Piemonte, Toscana, Umbria and Sardinia until 28 February 2001.

Italy will ensure that at least until 28 February 2001, the provisions listed below will apply for intra-Community trade of live poultry and hatching eggs:

- only vaccinated live poultry and hatching eggs derived from vaccinated flocks are allowed to leave the Italian territory for intra-Community trade

- the following words shall be included in the relevant animal health certificates used for intra-Community trade in live poultry and hatching eggs:

  • "The poultry had been vaccinated against Newcastle disease under official control."
  • "The hatching eggs are derived from flocks, which have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease under official control."

Avian influenza

Italy

The Italian delegation provided updated information on the LPAI situation and on the progress of the vaccination programme.

Infectious haematopoietic necrosis

France

The French delegation reported 2 further outbreaks of IHN since the last SVC on 20/12/2000. Both the outbreaks were located in non-approved areas and were uncovered in the framework of the qualification analyses.

Germany

The German delegate summarised 6 IHN-cases (in total seven notified during 2000), all in non-approved zones. He also explained the measures taken.

Bluetongue

Italy

The Italian delegation reported on the epidemiological situation in relation to bluetongue. In Sardinia, 6165 outbreaks have been reported. In Sicily, 16 outbreaks were confirmed and in Calabria, 563 outbreaks were reported. The Italian delegate pointed out that it was necessary to vaccinate in Calabria and therefore requested the Commission to purchase 1.5 million doses of vaccine type 2.

France

The French delegation distributed and presented a report on the bluetongue situation in Corsica. In total, 49 outbreaks have been confirmed, of which 32 in the south and 17 in the north. 78 further holdings were under suspicion. Vaccination was going on the French representative requested the Commission to provide for 50.000 additional doses.

Spain

The Spanish delegation distributed and presented a report on the bluetongue situation in the Baleares. In Mallorca and Menorca respectively, 391 holdings and 114 holdings were affected. Vaccination with type 2 vaccine was being carried out. To date, 3677 and 523 holdings had been vaccinated in Mallorca and Menorca respectively.

Greece

The Greek delegation presented a report on the spreading of bluetongue in Greece in 1999 and on the results of entomological surveillance (vectors) in 2000. The delegate also provided the results of the serological screening as at December 2000.

2. Information in relation to the animal health situation in Zimbabwe Swaziland and South Africa

The Commission informed the Member States that an FVO mission was present in Zimbabwe.

In relation to the outbreak in a slaughterhouse in Swaziland in animals from South Africa, the Commission informed the Committee that the restrictions had been lifted. Another outbreak had been confirmed in a non-EC area. This outbreak was not linked to the slaughterhouse incident.

The South African authorities have followed-up the information from Swaziland. The disease was confirmed on 15/12/2000 and the outbreak was controlled. South Africa has issued a request to be regionalised (see also point 12).

3. Information from Greece on the EVROS surveillance programme.

The Greek delegation distributed and presented the annual report on technical, administrative and financial aspects of the "EVROS" epidemio-surveillance programme. The report aimed to provide an overview of actions undertaken and results obtained. The full modalities of the programme can be consulted on the following website : http://www.minagric.gr/greek/2.3.1.html

4. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision on the evolution of animal diseases in the Community and in Third Countries.

No items were raised.

5. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision approving the plan for the eradication of classical swine fever in the wild boar in Austria (doc. Sanco/69/2001)

The Commission proposed to approve the plan presented by the Austrian authorities for the eradication of classical swine fever in feral pigs covering the concerned areas of Lower Austria.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

6. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision establishing protection and surveillance zones in the Community in relation with bluetongue (doc. Sanco/86/2001-rev.2)

The purpose of the proposal is to demarcate, in accordance with Directive 2000/75/EC 1 , protection and surveillance zones corresponding to the different situations in the Member States affected by the disease (France, Greece, Italy and Spain)

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

7. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending for the third time Decision 2000/284/EC establishing the list of approved semen collection centres for imports of equine semen from Third Countries (doc. Sanco/4377/2000)

The proposal aimed to include one additional equine semen collection centre in Canada in the list, and to make corrections for four other centres included in the list.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

8. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 93/195/EEC on animal health conditions and veterinary certification for the re-entry of registered horses for racing, competition and cultural events after temporary export (doc. Sanco/73/2001)

The purpose of the draft Decision was to allow registered horses being temporarily exported to participate in the United Arab Emirates Endurance World Cup for a period of more than 30 days but less than 60 days to return to the EU under the conditions of Decision 93/195/EEC.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

9. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending for the fifth time Decision 95/473/EC establishing the list of approved fish farms in France (doc. Sanco/4407/2000)

Following an outbreak of IHN in an approved farm in the region Artois-Picardie (France), the Commission proposed to withdraw the IHN-free status of the farm.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

10. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending for the fourth time Decision 93/74/EEC concerning the status of Denmark with regard to infectious hematopoietic necrosis and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (doc. Sanco/4408/2000)

The Commission proposed to delete one water catchment area from the list of approved zones with regards to VHS, where an outbreak of VHS had been notified. In addition, the draft Decision aimed to include a number of already approved zones in the list of approved zones in Denmark, also with regard to VHS.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

11. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision laying down the sampling plans and diagnostic methods for the detection and confirmation of certain fish diseases and repealing Commission Decision 92/532/EEC (doc. Sanco/1965/2000-rev.5)

The draft Decision aimed, in the light of new practical and scientific developments, to update the sampling plans and diagnostic methods for the detection and confirmation of certain fish diseases, in particular viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) and infectious haematopoietic necrosis.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

12. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 1999/283/EEC concerning the animal health conditions and veterinary certification for imports of fresh meat from certain African countries to take account of the animal health situation in South Africa and Swaziland. (doc. Sanco/16/2001)

Following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in South Africa (province of Mpumalanga), the Commission proposed to redefine the territory of South Africa from which imports into the Community of fresh meat are authorised. The Commission explained that the authorities of South Africa have provided sufficient guarantees with regard to the measures taken to control the movement of animals of susceptible species within and out of the infected area.

The Commission also proposed that the imports into the EC of meat from Swaziland could be resumed from 1 March 2001. The authorities in Zimbabwe have provided sufficient guarantees with regard to the measures taken to control the outbreak of FMD in the slaughterhouse.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

13. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision laying down animal health conditions and veterinary certification for the import of specified pathogen free eggs from Third Countries and drawing up a list of Third Countries from which Member States authorise imports of such eggs (doc. Sanco/4006/2000 - rev. 3)

The purpose of the draft Decision is to draw up an animal health certificate for specified pathogen free (SPF) eggs and to lay down a third country list from which Member States can authorise the importation off such eggs. The Commission explained that SPF-eggs are used as a diagnostic aid in laboratories or for vaccine production and testing. The risk of disease introduction through these eggs is considered to be low and it is therefore not necessary that these eggs comply with all the conditions required for hatching eggs from third countries.

The Committee reached a technical agreement by unanimity. The proposal is to be sent to the WTO for comments.

14. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 94/984/EC laying down animal health conditions and veterinary certificates for the importation of fresh poultry meat from Third Countries and repealing Decisions 96/181/EC, 96/182/EC, 96/387/EC and 96/712/EC (doc. Sanco/4053/2000-rev. 5)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. The Commission explained that Decision 94/984/EC lays down two different certificates for the importation of fresh poultry meat, model A and model B, the use of which depends on the Newcastle disease situation in the country concerned.

Following inspections carried out by the Commission services and information received, it appeared that Thailand and Tunisia could comply with the requirements of certificate model A. The Commission proposed to list both countries in the above Decision. The Commission also proposed to further regionalise Brazil and to lift the regionalisation of Croatia as regards the importation of fresh meat.

Furthermore, the certificates need to be amended so as to take into account the harmonisation of the vaccine criteria by Decision 93/152/EC 2 and the changed Newcastle disease status of Ireland and the region of Northern Ireland (UK).

The Member States were requested to comment.

15. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision on financial aid from the Community for the operation of certain community reference laboratories in the field of animal health and live animals, for 2001 (docs. Sanco/66/2001 and Sanco/68/2001)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. The aim of the draft Decision is to provide Community financial assistance to assist the Community Reference Laboratories (CRL) within the area of animal health and live animals in carrying out their functions and duties for a period of 12 months. The Commission distributed the 2001 work programmes of the CRLs.

16. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision concerning a specific financial contribution by the Community relating to epidemiological surveillance of certain animal diseases in areas at risk in Greece (docs. Sanco/4290/2000 and Sanco/4772/2000-rev.1)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. Several animal diseases entered in Greece from sources abroad over the last decade, causing great economic losses to livestock owners. In order to ensure that Greece has a high level of disease surveillance and preparedness for eradication of animal diseases in areas considered at risk, the Community provided Greece with financial assistance during 2000 for the implementation of a specific epidemio-surveillance programme (EVROS). The aim of the draft Decision is to continue the high-level disease surveillance in 2001 and to provide financial assistance for a further period of 12 months.

The Commission also distributed the Programme of epidemio-surveillance of exotic diseases "EVROS" as proposed for 2001 by Greece.

17. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision amending the Annexes to Directives 64/432/EC, 90/426/EC, 91/68/EC and 92/65/EC to take into account the requirements of Directive 91/628/EC in order to ensure the protection of animals during transport (doc. Sanco/4012/2000 - rev.1)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. The draft Decision is based on a report adopted by the Commission, on the experience acquired by Member States since the implementation of Council Directive 95/29/EC. That report considers that animal health certificates used for intra-Community trade should be supplemented in order to draw the attention of veterinarians in charge of the certifications to their responsibilities concerning the protection of animals during transport. The proposal sets out the certification, which shall be incorporated in certain intra-Community health certificates.

Some Member States had reservations because the text did not refer to the responsibility of the farmers and the hauliers.

18. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision approving the scheme submitted by the UK for the withdrawal off all fish in Scottish farms infected with infectious salmon anaemia (doc. Sanco/3871/2000 - rev.2 and doc. Sanco/88/2001)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. The purpose of the proposal is to approve the scheme submitted by the United Kingdom for the withdrawal of all fish in Scottish farms infected with infectious salmon anaemia (ISA). The scheme presented has taken account of the current practical experience and scientific evidence.

19. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision approving tests for the detection of antibodies against bovine brucellosis for the purposes of Annex A (II) and amending Annex C of Directive 64/432/EEC 3 (doc. Sanco/80/2001)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. The Commission explained that, in order to qualify for the brucellosis-free status, bovine herds must undergo certain tests to substantiate the absence of antibodies against the disease. The Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare has issued a report on the modification of the technical Annexes to Council Directive 64/432/EEC to take account of scientific developments regarding tuberculosis, brucellosis and enzootic bovine leucosis. Subsequently, the Commission, by Decision 2000/330/EC 4 , approved for certification purposes the brucellosis test resilts produced by the use of ELISA and provided for the conditions under which such test results may be produced on the basis of pooled plasma or serum samples. However, the updating of the relevant Annexes has not yet been completed. It is therefore the purpose of the draft Decision presented that, pending this update, these tests be approved.

20. Miscellaneous

1. The Commission introduced a document entitled "Draft Commission Decision for the implementation of a bluetongue vaccination programme in certain parts of the protection zone in Italy and the purchase by the Community of vaccine for this purpose" (Doc. SANCO/104/2001)

2. The Greek delegation informed the Committee that, in relation to sheep pox, all measures have been lifted.

3. Austria announced that the tests on the suspect case of BSE showed negative results.

4. The German delegation distributed and presented a report on the occurrence of BSE in Germany in 2000 and 2001.

5. Italy confirmed a first case of BSE.

6. Denmark confirmed the second native case of BSE.

7. The Commission announced that a mission would take place in Greece with APHIS representatives.

8. The Commission distributed:

- a working document containing applications from Denmark, Italy and Germany for Community approval of farms in non-approved zones, and a request from Spain for approval of river EO with regard to VHS and/or IHN (Doc. SANCO/235/2001-Rev.1)

- a report on glanders and dourine survey in Lima Region of Peru (Doc. SANCO/321/2001)

- a report on vaccination against ASIA 1 foot-and-mouth disease in Turkish Thrace (Doc. SANCO/322/2001)

- a questionnaire for a workshop on CSF to be held in June 2001 in Germany

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 Council Directive 2000/75/EC of 20 November 2000 laying down specific provisions for the control and eradication of bluetongue

2 93/152/EEC: Commission Decision of 8 February 1993 laying down the criteria for vaccines to be used against Newcastle disease in the context of routine vaccination programmes

3 64/432/EEC: Council Directive of 26 June 1964 on animal health problems affecting intra-Community trade in bovine animals and swine

4 2000/330/EC: Commission Decision of 18 April 2000 approving tests for the detection of antibodies against bovine brucellosis within the framework of Council Directive 64/432/EEC

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- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee
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