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Food Safety

Health - Scientific Committees - Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health - Outcome of discussions

Summary Report of the Meeting of the Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health held on 17 February 1998 in Brussels (approved at the meeting on 27 April 1998)

List of Participants

MEMBERS

Prof. A. Osterhaus (chairperson)

Prof. R. Gilbert (first vice-chairperson)

Prof. J-L. Jouve (second vice-chairperson)

Dr. A. Johnston, Prof. O. Kaaden, Prof. A. Macri, Dr. J. Schlundt, Dr. I. Vagsholm, Prof. F. Van Knapen, Prof. P. Willeberg

APOLOGIES

Prof. J. Fink-Gremmels, Prof. V. Caporale, Prof. A. Mantis, Prof. E. Nurmi , Prof. E. Quinto Fernandez, Dr. D. Vuitton

ABSENT

None

COMMISSION

Mr. R. Vanhoorde (DG XXIV)

Mr. B. Verleysen (DG XXIV)

Mr. O. Rohte (DG III)

Mr. H. Belvèze (DG XXIV) (partim)

Mr. T. Christofourou (SJ) (partim)

Mme E. Siracusa (DG VI) (partim)

Mr. D. Lange (DG I) (partim)

1. Declarations of interest

No declarations of specific interest, which might be considered prejudicial to the independence of the members, were made.

2. Adoption of the Agenda

The agenda was adopted.

3. Adoption of the minutes of the meeting of 22 December 1997

The minutes were adopted with some minor amendments.

4. Discussion and possible adoption of Internal Rules of Procedure

A Commission representative presented and explained the draft Internal Rules of Procedure article by article.

Special attention was given to the issues of independence and confidentiality. It was agreed to attach to the "annual statement of member's interests" an updated version of the curriculum vitae providing more detailed information on nature of the interests declared.

On request of the Committee it was clarified that working group documents are to be considered confidential until they are formally adopted by the plenary.

The Internal Rules of Procedure were adopted with some minor amendments concerning the adoption of scientific opinions, the annual statements of member's interests and the declaration concerning confidentiality.

It was agreed that the secretariat should provide all members with a copy of the internal rules of procedure with the request to return the completed forms (incl. an update of the C.V.) at the next plenary.

5. Discussion and possible adoption of a scientific opinion concerning allergic reactions to ingested anisakis simplex antigens and evaluation of the possible risk to human health

Due to the absence of the rapporteur, the point was postponed to the next plenary.

6. Discussion and possible adoption of a scientific opinion on the safety of slaughter practices and method; risk to spread BSE infectivity through cross contamination of different tissues by using (pneumatic) stunners during the slaughtering process of cattle;

The rapporteur presented the draft opinion together with some general background information concerning the stunning of livestock. Because of the potential risk of infection of small ruminants with BSE, the Committee extended its evaluation to the slaughtering process of ruminants in general.

The Committee addressed the risk for consumers, the safety for abattoir operators and animal welfare considerations. It also considered the frequency of use of pneumatic stunners.

The draft opinion was amended in the light of the discussion and adopted by consensus.

7. Progress report and planning of meetings on outstanding questions:

a) Request for a scientific review concerning the use of antimicrobial treatments of poultry carcasses, the various methods of carcass rinsing including trisodium monophosphates (TSP), organic acids and hyperchlorinated water;

The rapporteur informed the Committee about the progress made in the working group. He explained that, considering the comprehensiveness of a full risk assessment, it was decided to do a partial risk assessment which should be appropriate for this exercise. He also informed the Committee about the planning concerning the assessment of the efficiency and the safety of various treatments. The task distribution and timetable of the working group were explained.

It is scheduled that the Working Group should finalise the draft opinion at the end of May.

b) Request for a scientific opinion concerning the 9th code of Federal Regulations Part 304, et al. Pathogen reduction; Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems; Final rule.

The Committee was informed about the explanation given in the working group by Dr. Manis from F.S.I.S. on the US Megareg. Reference was made to the most relevant aspects, i.e. the design of the approach, the HACCP concept and control procedures, SOP, microbial performance criteria, sampling and analytical methods, possibilities for tracing back, decontamination methods and their technical and official procedures for approval. A first reflection document was presented.

It is scheduled that the Working Group should finalise the draft opinion at the end of May.

8. Planning of meetings on outstanding questions to the Committee:

a) Request for a scientific opinion on the evaluation of microbiological criteria and temperatures for storage and transport of products of animal origin intended for human consumption:

- partim microbiological criteria;
- partim temperatures for storage and transport;

The secretariat informed the Committee that because of the non-availability of some members of the Working Group, the first meeting of the working group can only take place on 31 March. Meanwhile, the secretariat will provide the Working Group members with some relevant background information (SCOOP, etc. ) in view of the preparation of the meeting.

b) Request for a scientific opinion concerning the revision of ante- and post- mortem inspection procedures for an alternative inspection system for the slaughter of pigs;

Working group meetings have not been planned yet.

c) Request for a scientific opinion concerning cooling of carcasses during transport;

Members of the working group have been asked to inform the secretariat on suitable dates for a working group meeting.

d) Request for a scientific opinion concerning the equivalence of two protocols for the detection of trichinella larvae in horse meat and in pork with the methods approved in accordance with Council Directive 77/96/EEC;

The draft opinion is in a progressed stage and close to be finalised. The rapporteur (Prof. Van Knapen) will present the draft opinion for adoption at the plenary of April.

e) Request for a scientific opinion concerning the modification of the methods approved in accordance with Council Directive 77/96/EEC for the detection of trichinella larvae in horse meat;

The draft opinion is in a progressed stage and close to be finalised. The rapporteur (Prof. Van Knapen) will present the draft opinion for adoption at the plenary of April.

f) Request for a scientific opinion concerning the prevalence and methods of control of cysticercosis ;

As soon as Prof. Van Knapen and Dr. Vuitton have specified the question in the light of the discussions in the former working group, the secretariat will circulate it to DG VI for approval.

g) Request for a scientific opinion concerning the use of Bovine Somatotropin;

The secretariat informed the Committee that on the basis of the availability of the members, the first meeting of the working group will take place on 25 March. The secretariat will provide the working group members with some relevant background information which is at its disposal.

h) Request for a scientific opinion concerning the possible link between Johne's disease and Crohn's disease (Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare);

A working group meeting of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (chef de file) took place during the plenary of the SCVMPH. The next working group is scheduled for 25 or 31 March.

9. Information by the Commission about the conclusions of the report of the "hormone panel" (WTO).

A commission representative informed the Committee about the report which was adopted by the World Trade Organisation Appellate Body on EC measures concerning hormones used as growth promoters in meat production. He stated that the Commission is currently studying the consequences to be drawn up from the report and its recommendations and that the Commission will keep the committee fully informed of further developments.

10. Miscellaneous.

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