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Food Safety

- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee

Short report of the meeting (2001/05) held in Brussels on 07 February 2001

President: Mrs. Paola Testori Coggi

All the Member States were represented.

1. Draft Commission Recommendation regarding a coordinated programme for the official control of foodstuffs for 2001 (Sanco/243/2001 rev.1) (S.M.)

The Commission presented for information a draft Commission Recommendation regarding a co-ordinated programme for the official control of foodstuffs for 2001. In this proposal the Member States are invited to carry out inspections and controls including, where indicated, taking samples with the aim to:

- monitoring compliance with the Community labelling rules concerning the quantitative ingredients declaration (article 7 of Council Directive 2000/13/EC 1 );

- assessing the bacteriological quality of smoked fish products.

The Commission reminded that this draft Recommendation should be presented for a formal opinion at next meeting of the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs, foreseen on 15 and 16 February 2001.

2. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on draft Commission Decisions concerning certain protection measures with regard to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (in particular concerning the use of vertebral column)

The Commission introduced the following proposals:

1. Draft Commission Decision amending Decision 2000/418/EC as regards mechanically recovered meat and bovine vertebral column (Doc. SANCO/532/2001-Rev.3)

The purpose of the proposal was to:

- extend the ban on the use for production of mechanically recovered meat from the head bones and vertebral column to all bones of bovine, ovine and caprine animals;

- designate vertebral column of bovine animals over 12 months of age as specified risk material in all Member States.

In view of scientific assessments of the geographic BSE risk or other evidence supporting the effectiveness of past risk reduction measures, derogation for the removal of vertebral column may be granted. However, no derogation is given from the existing requirement of Decision 2000/418/EC 2 for the removal of vertebral column of animals over 30 months of age in Member States with a high BSE risk.

Considering previous scientific evidence the derogation is granted by the draft Decision to Finland, Sweden and Austria for all animals, and to the UK for animals born after the effective feed ban and less than 30 months of age. Considering FVO findings Portugal will also immediately benefit from the derogation on the basis of its effective feed ban.

In order to ensure monitoring of the continued effectiveness of the measures Member States benefiting from the derogation have to increase testing efforts. In addition to the current requirements, all animals over 30 months of age slaughtered for human consumption, or that died before slaughter or were killed for destruction have to be tested. The latter is limited to testing all animals born during the first year of the effective enforcement of the feed ban.

Vote: 67 votes in favour; 9 votes against; 11 abstentions.

Greece opposed because they consider derogation based on the geographic risk assessment (GBR) carried out by the SSC illegal, as the GBR being based on a Commission Recommendation does in their view, not form a legal base. Greece considered that it should have benefited from the same immediate derogation as Finland, Austria and Sweden.

The Netherlands declared that despite being in favour of vertebral column, they question the practicability of the Decision in absence of an additional mark indicating which carcasses should have the vertebral column removed at retail level. It was also against the principle of derogating the UK and Portugal for an effective feed ban which has not been verified on the basis of test results, and in the case of the UK does not comply with the new more stringent requirements.

Spain stated that despite being in favour of the Decision, it seriously questions the practicability of removing the vertebral column at retail level and wants to maintain the possibility to refuse carcasses containing vertebral column as is currently possible for carcasses or heads still containing spinal cord or brain.

2. Draft Commission Decision amending as regards hydrolysed proteins Decision 2001/9/EC concerning control measures required for the implementation of Council Decision 2000/766/EC concerning certain protection measures with regard to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and the feeding of animal protein (Doc. SANCO/510/2001-Rev.3)

The proposal provides that feedingstuffs (including pet food) destined to animals other than farmed animals, which contain processed animals proteins, may not be manufactured in plants which prepare feed for farmed animals. However, exception can be made for feedingstuffs for farmed animals other that ruminants, which are produced with no other processed animal proteins than fishmeal, dicalcium phosphate and hydrolysed proteins. The draft Decision also lays down production conditions and control rules for the feeding of hydrolysed proteins derived from fish and feather to farmed animals other than ruminants.

Vote: 77 votes in favour; 10 votes against.

3. Draft Commission Decision concerning certain protection measures with regard to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and rendered fats, and amending Council Decision 1999/534/EC on measures applying to the processing of certain animal waste to protect against transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (Doc. SANCO/501/2001-Rev.1)

The proposal aims to implement additional scientific recommendations as regards the use and the processing of rendered ruminant fats. Furthermore, the draft Decision establishes that the same high standards which apply for rendered fats destined to animal feed shall apply to rendered fats destined to human food.

No vote was taken.

3. Miscellaneous

1. The Commission shared information from the UK about SRM in carcasses coming from Germany and Ireland. The Member States concerned provided information on the measures taken to ensure that the incident would not re-occur.

2. The Commission requested Spain to provide information about unidentified carcasses found abandoned.

3. The Commission requested to be informed about the BSE testing capacity in the Member States.

4. The Commission requested the Netherlands to provide information as regards a draft regulation on the destruction of carcasses not tested for BSE.

5. The Commission requested clarification from Germany in relation to a draft regulation prohibiting the use of hides.

6. Italy requested clarification as regards the measures to be taken for animals slaughtered after the detection of an animal found positive for BSE. The Commission distributed a document on the treatment of the carcasses concerned. The Commission said that the measures were left to the appreciation of the Member States.

7. Germany asked for the Commission's position as regards difficulties encountered in trade of bovine intestines of animals slaughtered before 01.01.2001, and in particular their shipment to Italy. The Commission confirmed that the ban on intestines came into force on 01.01.2001 and that the intestines of bovine animals slaughtered before that date could circulate freely.

8. Greece called attention to the overlapping competencies of the SVC and the Management Committee on Beef, and requested that information on the proceedings of the Management Committee would be put on the SVC agenda. The Commission replied that information was shared.

9. Finland sought clarification concerning the use of MBM as a fertiliser. The Commission said that it was authorised under certain conditions (i.e. mammalian MBM not produced with SRM and heat treated to 133°C, 20 minutes, 3 bars)

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 Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 March 2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs

2 2000/418/EC: Commission Decision of 29 June 2000 regulating the use of material presenting risks as regards transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and amending Decision 94/474/EC

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- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee
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