Food Law News - EU - 2002

Council Memo (MEMO/02/8), 22 January 2002

VETERINARY LEGISLATION / RAPID ALERT - Veterinary and phytosantary agreements with third countries, and, EU rapid alert system for food and feedingstuffs

The following are extracts from the report of the Outcome of the Agriculture Council of 21/22 January 2002

Veterinary and phytosantary agreements with third countries

In February 1995, the Council adopted a Resolution authorising the Commission to conduct negotiations with a view to the conclusion of agreements between the EU and third countries on sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Agreements have been concluded with New Zealand, Canada, the USA and the Czech Republic. These agreements have, however, posed a number of practical problems.

The Council discussion concentrated on possible veterinary and phytosanitary agreements with Latin American countries, i.e. Chili and the Mercosur countries.

M. Byrne said: " The experiences with existing veterinary agreements forced us to reconsider our position on such agreements in general. It would not be wise to enter into new agreements which raise expectations beyond what can reasonably be delivered. Therefore we have assessed different scenarios to ensure efficient management and to increase potential benefits and minimise the disadvantages we have seen from the existing agreements. It is also imperative that the balance of results should be clearly positive for each party. In that sense, I am confident that placing such agreements under a broader political umbrella, such as the association agreements, would add to their successful operation afterwards".

The main features of The Commission's new orientation are:

M. Byrne added: "My intention is to respect the timing of the negotiations on the Association Agreements with Chile and the Mercosur, from which the negotiations with Chile should be concluded during this Presidency".

EU rapid alert system for food and feedingstuffs

In the wake of the import of contaminated feedingstuffs, the German minister pleaded for an early implementation of a rapid alert system for feedingstuffs.

The establishment of one single Rapid Alert System for the notification of a direct or indirect risk to human health deriving from food and feed is part of the Regulation laying down the general principles and requirements of Food Law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety. This Regulation has been adopted as an "A" point at the Council yesterday.

"I can assure the Council that the Commission will make all necessary efforts in order to make the existing Rapid Alert System for Food also operational for Feed when the Regulation enters into force 20 days following its publication". M. Byrne said.

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