Food Law News - EU - 2001

Commission Memo (01/254), 2 July 2001

ADMINISTRATION - Priorities for Health and Consumer Protection during the Belgian Presidency

Commissioner David Byrne is responsible for issues related to food safety, public health and consumer protection and has indicated that the following areas will be tacked under the heading of Food Safety:

European Food Authority - After the formal adoption of the Common Position, and the second reading in the EP, the Council is expected to adopt the proposal for a Regulation on general principles for food law and establishing a European Food Authority. This is with the objective of allowing arrangements to be made so that the Authority can start its operations early in 2002 in accordance with the declarations of the Nice and Göteborg European Councils.

GMO - The Internal Market/Consumer/Tourism and Environment Councils will start discussing a package of proposals to be presented by the Commission on genetically modified organisms, including new rules on labelling and traceability, new rules for the authorisation of GM feed and updated rules for the authorisation of GM food and food ingredients.

Safety of Animal Feed - The final adoption of the Regulation on animal by-products, or animal materials not intended for human consumption, is a top priority. A Common Council Position on this key legislation to secure the safety of animal feed and prevent contamination of animal feed by BSE, dioxin etc. should be formally adopted as early as July, to be followed by the second reading in the EP.


Food Hygiene - Substantial progress should be made and possibly a Common Position adopted later in the year on the hygiene regulations proposed by the Commission in July 2000. The first reading in the EP is expected in October. The proposals, contained in 4 regulations, represent a radical shake up of food safety hygiene rules, making food operators right through the food chain bear primary responsibility for food safety. They also put in place effective instruments to manage food safety and any future food crises. The focus is on setting objectives while leaving business flexibility in deciding the safety measures to take, rather than prescribing them in great detail.


Hormones used as growth promoters for cattle - The Commission expects the Council to make progress towards the adoption of a common position on a proposal prohibiting the use of certain hormones that pose a risk to consumer health when used as growth promoters in cattle.


New proposals on food safety - The Commission is to present a series of new proposals in follow-up to the White Paper on Food Safety of January 2000 on which the Council is expected to have orientation debates. They include:

Animal health - In the area of animal health the Commission is to present a proposal revising the directive on measures to control foot-and-mouth disease, drawing on the experience of the recent outbreak. The Belgian Presidency is expected to organise a conference on FMD, as discussed in the April Agriculture Council. The Commission expects the Council to adopt a common position on the proposal for a regulation facilitating travel with pets in the EU, and in particular harmonising health requirements with respect to rabies.

Animal Welfare - The presentation of further legislative initiatives on animal transport, as sought in the Council Resolution of June 2001, will be subject to the availability of scientific advice, in particular on densities and travel times. A proposal on better ventilation and humidity controls in animal transport trucks is also proceeding. The Commission is to present a report on animal welfare provisions in third countries.

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