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Food Safety

- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee

Short report of the meeting (2001/06) held in Brussels on 20 February 2001

Chairman: Mr. Eric Poudelet for points 1, 2, 8 and 14; Mr. Jens Nymand-Christensen for the other points

All the Member States were represented.

1. Information from the Member States on BSE testing capacity

The Commission informed the Committee about its reflections to:

  • advance the date of entry into force for testing of all bovine animals over 30 months to 01.04.2001 (initially foreseen for 01.07.2001);
  • test sheep with a view to detect TSE.

In the light of what precedes, the Member States individually informed the Committee about their BSE testing capacity.

The Commission distributed and presented the monthly report on BSE monitoring in the Member States. Not all Member States had replied and the Commission consequently requested them to provide the information concerned by the 15 th of each month. It was also the intention to put the information on the website, after presentation at the SVC.

2. Information from the UK on a BSE survey carried out in casualty slaughtered cattle in Northern Ireland

The UK distributed and presented the results and conclusions of a large scale BSE survey of emergency slaughter cattle entering the "Over Thirty Months Scheme" in Northern Ireland. From the 2546 animals sampled, 55 turned out to be positive. One case was found in an animal born after the 1 August 1996 MBM ban. Further investigation of the animal has been initiated.

3. Information on a mission carried out in Canada from 19 to 29 September 2000 in order to evaluate the control of residues in live animals and animal products - Presentation of the mission report (Doc. SANCO/1188/2000)

The Commission presented the mission report and reported on the main findings. The objective of the mission was to evaluate the control of residues in live animals and animal products. The standards used were the provisions of Council Directive 96/23/EC 1 on measures to monitor certain substances and residues thereof in live animals and animal products.

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

The Commission has written to the Canadians asking for further guarantees concerning any potential risks identified relating to exports to the Community of animals and animal products. This is particularly important during the period of implementation of the Canadian action plan.

4. Information on a mission carried out in Thailand from 28 November to 1 December 2000 in order to assess facilities for de-shelling bivalve molluscs - Presentation of the final mission report: (follow-up to mission DG(SANCO)/1191/2000). (Doc. 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.

5. Information on a mission carried out in Belize from 27 to 31 March 2000 for the purpose of assessing the conditions of production of fishery products - Presentation of the mission report (follow up - guarantees received by the competent authority of Belize) (Doc. SANCO/1038/2000)

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 system of control of fishery and aquaculture products originating in Belize and intended for export to the EC, with a view to deciding whether the country can be added to part I on the Annex of Decision 97/296/EC 2 (the list of third countries approved for export to the EC).

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

6. At the request of Belgium, exchange of views in relation to import problems of fishery products.

At a prior meeting, Belgium had 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. It appeared that various Member States have different approaches and that it was therefore appropriate to study the possibility to establish a common procedure. The Commission announced that a working group would be organised.

7. Information - List of Norwegian fishery establishments approved as of February 2001 (doc. sanco/588/2001)

The Commission distributed the above list.

8. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision concerning measures made necessary by the occurrence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Portugal and implementing a date-based export scheme (Doc. SANCO/102/2001-rev.3)

The proposal aims to provide for a gradual lifting of the ban on bovine products from Portugal, installed by Decision 98/653/EC 3 , by approving a date-based export scheme (DBES) put forward by the Portuguese authorities. The draft Decision also includes rules on the traceability and labelling of products manufactured from beef of Portuguese origin in other Member States. Furthermore the proposal updates the rules on tallow and tallow derivatives to take account of the present scientific advice in this regard. The rules on the dispatch of fighting bulls are proposed to be amended and the rules on the treatment of carcasses of bulls killed in bullfight are clarified.

The vote was postponed.

9. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 94/324/EEC laying down special conditions governing imports of fishery products originating in Indonesia (Doc SANCO/589/2001)

Following a restructuring of the Indonesian government, the competent authority for health certificates for fishery products has changed. It is, therefore, necessary to modify the nomination of the competent authority in Decision 94/324/EEC. The proposal aimed to do so.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

10. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 95/538/EC laying down special conditions governing imports of fishery products originating in Japan (Doc SANCO/590/2001)

Following a restructuring of the Japanese government, the competent authority for health certificates for fishery products has changed. It is, therefore, necessary to modify the nomination of the competent authority in Decision 95/538/EEC. The proposal aimed to do so.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

11. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 98/424/EC laying down special conditions governing imports of fishery products originating in the Maldives (Doc SANCO/591/2001-rev.1)

Following a restructuring of the Maldives government, the competent authority for health certificates for fishery products has changed. It is, therefore, necessary to modify the nomination of the competent authority in Decision 98/424/EEC. The proposal aimed to do so.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

12. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision repealing Commission Decision 97/518/EC concerning certain protective measures with regard to certain fishery products originating in Malaysia (Doc SANCO/622/2001-rev.1)

The Commission explained that, by Decision 97/518/EC, imports of fishery products from one establishment in Malaysia had been suspended, due to the detection of salmonella in consignments originating in that processing plant. The Malaysian authorities have provided information and guarantees that this establishment has improved its sanitary conditions. The purpose of the draft Decision was to permit the resumption of the imports of fishery products from this establishment suspended by the above Decision.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

13. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Decision amending Decision 97/20/EC establishing the list of third countries fulfilling the equivalence conditions for the production and placing on the market of bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods (Doc SANCO/623/2001-rev.1)

The purpose of the draft Decision was to include Thailand in part I of the list on the Annex to Decision 97/20/EC.

Vote: unanimous vote in favour.

14. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision laying down rules for the regular checks on the general hygiene carried out by the operators in establishments according to Directive 64/433/EEC on health conditions for the production and marketing of fresh meat and Directive 71/118/EEC on health problems affecting the production and placing on the market of fresh poultry meat (Doc. SANCO/367/2001-rev.1)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. The purpose of the proposal is to lay down rules for the operators of meat establishments to conduct regular checks on the general hygiene of conditions of production in their establishment. The methods to be used will be based on the most recent HACCP methodology principles.

15. Exchange of views on a draft Commission Decision amending Commission Decision 1999/710/EC on the drawing up of provisional lists of third country establishments from which Member States authorise imports of minced meat and meat preparations (Document Sanco/291/2001)

The Commission distributed and presented the proposal for study and observation. The draft Decision proposes to add one establishment in Slovakia to the list of establishments in Decision 1999/710/EC approved to export minced meat and meat products to the EU.

16. Miscellaneous

1. Austria tabled a problem concerning the presence of antibiotics in certain aquaculture products.

2. UK requested information on the state of play as regards the list of plants approved for poultry meat exports in China. The Commission replied that it was working on the dossier.

3. Greece said that it had discovered certificates for squid, codfish and petfood from USA and Argentina, issued 15 days after the bill of loading. The Commission confirmed that such a practice does not comply with Community rules.

4. As regards the removal of the spinal column from bovine animals, Italy said to have encountered difficulties as to draw distinction between meat from animals under or over 12 months old. The Commission emphasised the importance of establishing clear trade documents. When there is any doubt on the age of the animal, the vertebral column should be removed.

5. France informed the Committee about certain difficulties in the use of the Bio Rad test. The Commission said that the threshold value of positivity had been changed and that this operation seemed to solve certain difficulties.

6. France tabled a problem relating to a notification by the Dutch authorities concerning marketing and labelling of poultry in relation to certain contamination.

7. The Netherlands drew attention to some inconsistencies between the third county lists for imports of certain products and the list of third countries for which residue plans have been approved.

8. The UK said that it had informed the Commission about findings of use of carbon monoxide as a colorant to mask the condition of fish.

9. The UK also sought clarification on the method of notification by the Commission when there is a ban on fishery products from third countries as a consequence of absence of residue plans.

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 : http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/inspections/vi/reports/index_en.html

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1 Council Directive 96/23/EC of 29 April 1996 on measures to monitor certain substances and residues thereof in live animals and animal products and repealing Directives 85/358/EEC and 86/469/EEC and Decisions 89/187/EEC and 91/664/EEC

2 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

3 98/653/EC: Commission Decision of 18 November 1998 concerning emergency measures made necessary by the occurrence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Portugal

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