Food Law News - EU - 2000

Commission Press Release (IP/00/1190), 19 October 2000

ANIMAL FEED - Commission proposal to exclude condemned animal material from the feed chain

The proposal adopted by the European Commission today, is one of the key actions of the White Paper on Food Safety and a major step towards preventing feed-borne food crises such as BSE and dioxin contamination. The proposed Regulation prohibits the recycling of fallen stock and condemned animal material in animal feed. The only animal material allowed to be used for the production of animal feed would then be material derived from animals declared fit for human consumption following veterinary inspection. This will further reduce any risk of disease transmission and the risk of presence of residues in animal feed. Clear rules are set out for what must and may be done with the animal materials that are excluded from the feed chain and new options are included such as transformation of the material into bio-gas. The proposal sets out a transparent, comprehensive and directly applicable legal framework, replacing and simplifying a multitude of scattered veterinary directives and decisions which have developed over more than a decade in response to internal market requirements and crisis situations.

"The fundamental objective of this proposal is to revamp veterinary legislation on animal by-products so that it lives up to the highest standard of human and animal health protection", said David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection. "Any contamination of animal feed, whether with BSE, dioxins or some other contaminants, ultimately is a threat to the safety of the food that ends up on the consumer's table. In the White Paper on Food Safety we recognised that food safety means safety at every link of the production chain, from the farm to the fork. For me, safeguarding and improving the quality of life of European citizens means doing the utmost to eliminate food scares. Today's proposal is a far-reaching, ambitious piece of legislation, based on science and the political determination to make consumer safety our top priority."

Feed containing contaminated animal waste is today generally considered the primary source of the spread of BSE and also the source of the dioxin contamination. Today's proposal builds on previous measures requiring pressure treatment of mammalian waste and the exclusion of specified high risk material, to exclude all dead animals and condemned materials from the feed chain.

Three categories of animal materials are distinguished, only one of which may be used in the production of feed for farm animals.

The Regulation also contains provisions imposing a separation of these three types of animal materials streams during collection, transport, storage and processing and imposes a reliable identification and registration system of the final products. For example, animal protein meals not destined for animal feed production (category 1 or 2) must be dyed with a marker.

The proposal is based on Article 152 of the Treaty and subject to co-decision in European Parliament and Council of Ministers. It takes the form of a regulation to guarantee uniform application in the Member States, maximum transparency and possibility for rapid updating to take account of technical and scientific updating. A second accompanying proposal for a directive repeals certain directives and decisions relative to animal waste and amends certain others.

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