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Food Safety

- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee

Short report of the meeting (2001/03) held in Brussels on 23 January 2001

President: Mr. Eric Poudelet, except for points 3, 4 and 10: Mr. Jens Nymand-Christensen

All the Member States were represented.

1. Information by Member States on measures implemented by 1/1/2001 concerning BSE : tests on bovine animals at risk and on healthy bovine animals over 30 months, destruction of bovine animals over 30 months, ban of pithing, ban of processed animal proteins, specific measures concerning fish meal, dicalcium phosphate and hydrolysed proteins, ban of bovine intestine.

In response to the questionnaire sent out by the Commission on 5 January concerning the implementation of new BSE related measures notably on SRM-removal, testing an expanded feed ban, all Member States gave an oral report in addition to the written response already submitted. The Commission questioned the Member States in particular on two issues:

1. the number of BSE tests carried out since the beginning of January 2001;

2. the Member States' positions on the issue of the removal of the spinal column.

The Member States provided the requested information.

2. Presentation of the report concerning results of residue plans in the Member States in 1999

The Commission recalled that the deadline for submission of the results of the residue plans is 31 March and requested the Member States to send in the data as early as possible.

3. Information - presentation of a number of mission reports concerning border inspection posts

The Commission presented a number of mission reports concerning border inspection posts. The references of the reports are listed below:

Germany 08. - 12.11.1999 reference number: 1204/1999

Netherlands 29.11. - 03.12.1999 reference number 1205/1999

UK (2 new BIPs) 30.11. - 01.12.1999 reference number 1245/1999

Austria (2 + 1 new BIP) 16. - 17.12.1999 reference number 1246/1999

Ireland 27.01. - 03.02.2000 reference number 1025/2000

Germany 13. - 24.03.2000 reference number 1026/2000

France (1 new BIP) 13.03.2000 reference number 1165/2000

Netherlands 20. - 24.03.2000 reference number 1027/2000

Spain 03. - 12.05.2000 reference number 1029/2000

Austria 22. - 31.05.2000 reference number 1028/2000

Denmark 03. - 14.07.2000 reference number 1031/2000

UK (1 new BIP) 12.05.2000 reference number 1177/2000

The missions were carried out in order to inspect certain BIPs, and to verify whether the relevant provisions laid down in Community legislation are correctly applied by the competent authority in the BIPs visited, in particular regarding infrastructure, equipment and working procedures.

The Italian and Danish delegations requested that the FVO would draft a summary report based on the 12 mission reports presented. All the delegations aligned themselves to this request. It was decided to ask the working group on BIPs to discuss and refer back to the SVC at the earliest possible moment.

4. Information - presentation of a working document proposing the Republic of Congo to be included in list II of Commission Decision 97/296/EC (doc. Sanco/33803/2000)

The Commission presented a working document providing guarantees as regards health checks and surveillance of production conditions of fishery products in the Republic of Congo. The Commission recommended that Congo be included in List II to Decision 97/296/EC 1 .

5. Information on a mission carried out in South Africa on the operation of controls over the production of milk, heat-treated milk and milk-based products destined for export to the European Union - presentation of the mission report (doc. Dg (Sanco)/1213/2000)

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 performance of the official services to guarantee that the health rules for the production and placing on the market of milk and milk-based products intended for export to the EU are at least equivalent to those laid down in Chapter II of Council Directive 92/46/EEC 2 .

The Commission presented the conclusions and formulated a number of recommendations

6. Information - presentation of FVO programme of inspections 2001

The Commission presented the Food and Veterinary Office programme of inspections for 2001 (Doc. SANCO/1004/2001-Rev.1). The FVO representative gave a detailed overview for the 1 st semester 2001 and a general overview for the 2 nd semester 2001.

7. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision concerning BSE

The point was withdrawn.

8. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 97/252/EC drawing up provisional lists of Third Country establishments from which the Member States authorise imports of milk and milk products for human consumption (Sanco/3117/2000)

The proposal aimed to update the provisional list of establishments drawn up by Decision 97/252/EC.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

9. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision repealing Decision 93/351/EEC determining analysis methods, sampling plans and maximum limits for mercury in fishery products (Sanco/1046/2000 - rev 2)

The Commission explained that the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs recently agreed upon a Commission Regulation providing for the setting of maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs in order to protect public health (Doc. SANCO/890/2000-Rev.5 distributed). Moreover, for reasons of transparency, maximum limits for concentrations of mercury in fishery products intended for human consumption covered by Decision 93/351/EEC have been integrated in that Regulation. Therefore, this Decision should be repealed. That was the purpose of the draft Decision presented.

Vote: 77 votes in favour; 10 abstentions.

10. Exchange of views on the 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 (Sanco/282/2001)

The aim of the draft Decision was, following guarantees received for the competent authority, to include the Republic of Congo in part II of the list of third countries to Decision 97/296/EC. Part II of the list names the third countries qualifying under the provisional regime established by Decision 95/408/EC 3 .

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

11. Miscellaneous

1. Belgium requested to know which Member States have national lists of third country establishments from which they import fishery products, or which Member States are freely importing without approved establishment lists. The Member States agreed to add the point to a next SVC agenda for a tableround where each MS would explain its situation.

2. Belgium and the Netherlands asked the Commission about its intentions concerning the latest opinion of the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC), as regards BSE. The Commission explained that the SSC had issued 5 opinions and indicated which would be the follow-up for all five of them:

- (a) thymus and spleen: no action to be taken

- (b) MRM, (c) hydrolysed protein, (d) fats: the Commission will submit a draft Decision in line with the scientific opinion

- (e) vertebral column: the Commission is reflecting on the interpretation of the scientific opinion. The Commission, however, indicated that the results of the generalised tests would be a key element in the risk assessment.

3. The UK sought clarification as regards the interpretation of Council Directive 72/462/EEC 4 in relation to imports by travellers, without veterinary checks, of maximum 1 kg of fresh meat or meat products intended for personal consumption.

4. The UK also asked if it was still safe to import fresh meat from Swaziland, where a new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease had been reported. The Commission distributed updated information and said that, considering the measures in place, no action was needed.

5. The Netherlands asked about the state of play concerning the document on quality criteria in residue studies (Doc. SANCO/1805/2000-Rev.1). The Commission replied that the issue had to be put together with other dossiers and that calendar would be presented.

6. Several MS requested clarification in relation to the provisional list of third countries for residues, and in particular with regard to imports from New Zealand.

7. The Netherlands also asked if Decision 2000/766/EC 5 applies to meal processed from pig hair. The Commission's answer was affirmative.

8. Italy tabled a problem regarding private certification issued in certain Member States for animals < 30 months which have been tested for BSE and said that this practice could not be allowed because this would result in two different types of attestations. After having collected the Member States' opinions, the Commission concluded that the Member States agreed that additional certification, certifying that animals <30 months have been tested, is not considered appropriate.

9. Answering a question of the Italian delegation regarding imports of specified BSE risk materials from third countries, the Commission confirmed that the entry into force of the SRM Decision for imports from third countries was 01/04/2001. The Commission also indicated that the SSC would set up a first list of countries based on the BSE geographical list.

10. The Commission said that the UK had informed that they had received consignments of meat from other Member States, from which the spinal cord was not properly removed.

11. The Commission also informed the Member States that it would submit a draft Decision allowing Portugal to export bovine meat based on a date-based export scheme.

12. The Commission distributed a document providing information on the way to proceed concerning the submission by the Member States of (1) the monthly information on BSE cases and testing, and (2) the annual BSE report for 2000.

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 Council Directive 92/46/EEC of 16 June 1992 laying down the health rules for the production and placing on the market of raw milk, heat-treated milk and milk-based products

3 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

4 Council Directive 72/462/EEC of 12 December 1972 on health and veterinary inspection problems upon importation of bovine animals and swine and fresh meat from third countries

5 2000/766/EC: Council Decision of 4 December 2000 concerning certain protection measures with regard to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and the feeding of animal protein

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- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee
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