Food Law News - EU - 2002

Council Memo (MEMO/02/159), 28 June 2002

HYGIENE / DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN - Outcome of Agricultural Council of June 2002: Hygiene of foodstuffs, Zoonoses, and Feta chesse

The following items relating to food law issues were discussed and are summarised here:

Political agreement on framework regulation on hygiene for foodstuffs

The Council reached a political agreement on the Commission's proposal on the hygiene of foodstuffs presented by the European Commission on 14 July 2000. Under this proposal food operators right through the food chain will bear primary responsibility for food safety. The focus is on setting objectives while leaving business flexibility to decide the safety measures to take, rather than prescribing them in great detail. The Council followed the Commission's proposal in providing for flexibility to accommodate the needs of food businesses that are situated in regions suffering from special geographical constraints and to take account of traditional methods of food production.

Zoonoses and other zoonotic agents

The Commission and the Presidency updated the Council on the progress achieved on the proposals for monitoring and control of foodborne diseases, particularly emphasising the need to control salmonella. A large number of delegations support these proposals and it should be feasible to achieve a common position under the Danish Presidency.

Protection of Greek Feta

The Council did not reach agreement on a Commission proposal to reinstate the registration of the name 'Feta' as a protected designation of origin. This implies that "Feta" cheese may only be produced in certain areas of Greece and respecting strict product specifications.

Producers in other Member States or not respecting these specifications will be given a maximum 5-year transitional period to change the name or to stop production. On the basis of an extremely detailed inquiry on the production, consumption, labelling and consumer perception of 'Feta' cheese in all Member States, the Scientific Committee concluded, in 2001, that the name is not generic. It had already earlier concluded that Greece had provided the requisite information for starting the registration procedure under the Regulation.

"Providing protection against usurpation of our multitude of European regional and traditional specialities as an important instrument to valorise our cultural heritage and to ensure that the revenues return to the people of the land that produce these specialities., Mr Fischler said.

In the absence of an opinion of the Council the Commission will now adopt the proposal according to the rules on Comitology.

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