Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2018

Commission Consultation, 20 December 2018

HYGIENE - Commission Consultation: Commission Regulation as regards Salmonella in reptile meat

Draft Regulation: COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) …/… of XXX amending Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 as regards Salmonella in reptile meat

A copy of this draft is available on this site (click on image). In addition the draft Annex is available in a separate file - see: Reptile Meat - Annex. For more details, see the consultation page at: Consultation closes 17 January 2019.

The following are the recitals from the draft regulation:

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 [see Note 1 below] lays down the microbiological criteria for certain micro-organisms and the implementing rules to be complied with by food business operators in respect of the general and specific hygiene requirements referred to in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004.

In particular, Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 lays down food safety criteria which define the acceptability of a product or a batch of foodstuff applicable to products placed in the market. That Regulation does not provide for food safety criteria for reptile meat.

The "European Union summary report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks in 2016" [see note 2 below] published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control states that human salmonellosis is the second most reported human food-borne illness in the Union with around 95 000 cases reported annually.

In 2007, EFSA adopted a scientific opinion on public health risks involved in the human consumption of reptile meat [see note 3 below] according to which reptiles are well-known reservoirs for Salmonella species. The scientific opinion reviews farming practices and observes a documented high intestinal carrier rate in live crocodilians that is reflected in an equally high contamination rate in their fresh and frozen meat. The scientific opinion concludes that Salmonella is considered to be the most relevant bacterial hazard that may occur in reptile meat and it constitutes a significant public health risk.

Production of reptile meat in the Union is limited, but according to data available in Eurostat's reference database for detailed statistics on international trade in goods (Comext) [see note 4 below], imports from third countries of fresh, chilled or frozen meat and edible offal of reptiles have shown an upward trend over the last ten years with an increase of over 50% in the quantity imported during the period 2007-2017 and an average yearly import in the Union of nearly 100 tons.

Considering the potential significant health risk posed by the possible presence of Salmonella in reptile meat, a food safety criterion should be laid down in Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 for reptile meat. This food safety criterion should oblige food business operators to take measures at previous stages of reptile meat production contributing to the reduction of the presence of all serotypes of Salmonella with public health significance.

The international standard EN/ISO 6579-1 is the horizontal method for the detection of Salmonella in food and animal feeding stuffs. Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 provides for that standard to be the analytical reference method for Salmonella food safety criteria. It should, therefore, be laid down as the analytical reference method to verify the compliance of a Salmonella in reptile meat food safety criterion.

Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 should therefore be amended accordingly.

The measures provided for in this Regulation are in accordance with the opinion of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed.


1. Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 of 15 November 2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs (OJ L 338, 22.12.2005, p. 1).

2. EFSA Journal 2017;15(12):5077.

3. EFSA Journal (2007) 578, 1-55.

4. Combined nomenclature codes 0208 50 00 and 0210 93 00 as defined in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1925 amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff (OJ L 282, 31.10.2017, p. 1).

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