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Food Safety

- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee

Short report of the meeting (2001/10) held in Brussels on 13 March 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:

Foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom

The UK delegation distributed and presented a detailed report on the epidemiological situation and on the measures taken. At the time of reporting, the total number of confirmed outbreaks stood at 199 in Great Britain, one in Northern Ireland. In addition to the holdings on which disease has been confirmed, animals on 115 holdings considered to be at risk from FMD through contacts with an infected holding, have also been killed.

The UK delegate indicated that all the measures foreseen in Council Directive 85/511/EEC have been applied. In the first instance, the movements of all FMD susceptible animals and their carcasses in the whole of England and Wales have been prohibited, except under license. Since, the movements of animals of any species direct to abattoirs for slaughter had been allowed. The holding of fairs, markets, shows or other gatherings of animals have been banned.

2. Information from the Member States on the situation

France reported an outbreak of FMD in the département Mayenne. The animals have been slaughtered. The infected holding was already situated in the surveillance zone established around a farm where animals from the UK were imported. Measures around the outbreak have been strengthened. The Commission appealed to the Member States not to take unilateral measures. The French delegate also indicated that protection zones have been established around all the farms where UK animals have been imported.

Belgium, Greece and Ireland distributed reports giving information about the preventive measures taken and the surveillance carried out.

Italy announced a suspect case in sheep.

3. 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.

The Commission introduced the following proposals:

1. Draft Commission Decision concerning certain protection measures with regard to foot-and-mouth disease in France (Doc. SANCO/1164/2001-Rev.2)

In response to the outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease in France, the Commission proposed:

- to ban the movement of live animals of susceptible species and their germinal products from France to other Member States and to third countries;

- to ban the transport of fresh meat and meat products, milk and milk products, hides, skins and other products of animals of the susceptible species from the 'départements' of Mayenne and Orne to other French regions, to other Member States or to third countries, with the exception of products obtained before 16 February 2001 and of products that have been subject to a treatment so that the risk of spreading the food-and-mouth disease virus is avoided.

Vote: 75 votes in favour; 9 votes against; 3 abstentions.

2. Draft Commission Decision amending for the second time Decision 2001/172/EC concerning certain protection measures with regard to foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom (Doc. SANCO/1179/2001)

The Commission also proposed additional restrictions on the transport of horses from the United Kingdom: horses transported from the UK to other Member States must have an animal health certificate stating that they haven't been in a protection and surveillance zone for the past 15 days prior to certification.

Vote: 70 votes in favour; 7 votes against; 10 abstentions.

3. Draft Commission Decision 93/402/EEC concerning animal health conditions and veterinary certification for imports of fresh meat from South American countries to take account of the animal health situation in Argentina (Doc. SANCO/1065/2001-Rev.1)

The Commission informed the Member States that the authorities of Argentina have introduced a new regionalisation and vaccination policy against foot-and-mouth disease. It appeared therefore that the status of the country should be reviewed in the light of these changes as the existing requirements were based on a different disease and animal movement control strategy and the Commission had concerns as to the effectiveness of this programme. Moreover, information from Argentina indicated that it had suspended exports of meat to Canada, Chile and the USA, but not to the EC, following confirmation of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in parts of the country.

The Commission therefore proposed to suspend the importation into the Community of all categories of fresh meat from species susceptible to FMD until at least the situation was clarified.

Vote: 79 votes in favour; 8 votes absent.

4. Miscellaneous

No items were raised.

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.

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- Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee



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