Food Law News - EU - 2001

Commission Press Release (IP/01/581), 20 April 2001

BSE - Commission working paper proposing to prolong MBM-ban

The European Commission services have submitted to the Member States a working paper on the future strategy on the use of meat-and-bone meal (MBM) in Europe which will form the basis of a discussion at the Agriculture Council next week in Luxembourg. Based on the results of a series of inspection visits of the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) to the Member States on the implementation of BSE safety legislation (see note below) and a first evaluation of the results of increased BSE-testing it is considered premature to lift the temporary ban which will expire end of June. Therefore the Commission suggests to keep the ban in place until the adoption of the proposed legislation on animal by products which is foreseen in the beginning of 2002 ( This proposal will establish rules for the production of feed ingredients of animal origin exclusively from animals fit for human consumption. The existing prohibition from 1994 to feed MBM to ruminants stays of course in place. A formal legislative text of the Commission will be proposed in the near future.

A permanent ban of feeding of MBM to non-ruminant species like pigs, poultry and fish is not scientifically justified. The EU nevertheless decided to ban all MBM feeding for a temporary time until the end of June after it became apparent that the prohibition to feed MBM to ruminants was not fully respected. The suspension gave time to evaluate the control systems in place in Member States and to look at the long-term consequences of a permanent ban.

The working paper of the Commission therefore suggests that it would be appropriate to lift the MBM-ban on non-ruminant species when the following conditions are fulfilled:

This approach would have the following advantages:

The Commission paper concludes: "A total permanent ban of the feeding of animal proteins to farmed animals may be appealing from a political point of view, but it would imply recognition of the failure of Member States, industry and agricultural interests to implement basic Community legislation. It would also surrender the benefits of all the efforts and investments made by Member States and the industry in the last 4 years to improve standards". For example, all EU rendering plants are now equipped to operate the EU pressure cooking standards for animal-by-products of 133C, 3 bars for 20 minutes. For example, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland have established a production system of animal feed where cross-contamination can be avoided.

See also MEMO/01/122 (from 6 April, 2001) and

Note: EU Legislation specifies:

To go to current EU Food Law News page, click here.
To go to main Food Law Index page, click here.