FSA Consultation, 23 August 2002
The FSA are seeking comments on a European Commission proposal for a Regulation laying down rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption. This re-issued proposal forms part of the package of European Commission proposals to consolidate and simplify EU food safety legislation.
Discussions on the proposal have already begun and are scheduled to continue throughout September. Initial comments are therefore requested as soon as possible. The final date for comment is 18 November. The FSA apologise for this tight timescale, however it is important to obtain at least initial views soon so they can take account of these in shaping negotiating lines.
Discussion of the Proposal - Document COM (2002) 377
The proposal is an amended version of that originally issued in June 2000 as part of the package of hygiene proposals. That earlier proposal was withdrawn by the Commission, in particular because it did not take account of the increasing role of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles in food safety management by meat plant operators.
In addition, a revised approach is now envisaged for meat inspection to concentrate more on the audit of procedures that operators are required to put in place. The revised proposal is intended to reflect better the importance of a risk-based and integrated, farm-to-fork approach to food safety.
The proposal forms an essential part of the package in setting out the role of competent authorities in auditing the systems operators are required to put in place. In most respects, it would simply consolidate existing requirements. It is primarily concerned with rationalising requirements for official controls into a single legal instrument. In fishery product establishments and milk and dairy establishments it simply consolidates existing legislative requirements.
It would however change some aspects of existing legal requirements, in particular, the proposal would clarify the role of meat plant inspection teams in auditing procedures put in place by the plant operator. It would also increase significantly the testing requirement for biotoxin presence in live bivalve molluscs.
The Articles of the proposal set out the following:
Chapter 1 of the proposal concerns the tasks to be carried out by official veterinary surgeons in meat establishments and sets out the requirements for:
The first chapter lays down further methods for carrying out inspections relating to:
It also sets out rules governing the decisions to be taken after the control activities set out above.
The second chapter of the proposal lays down rules governing the responsibilities and frequencies of controls of;
The third chapter of the proposal sets out specific requirements in relation to official controls on:
ANNEX II of the proposal sets out the rules for the designation of production areas for live bivalve molluscs. This is done according to the class of the production area as designated by the competent authority. It also sets out the monitoring, sampling and testing to be carried out by the competent authority.
ANNEX III lays down rules governing official controls on fishery products to be carried out at the time of landing or before first sale at an auction or wholesale market.
ANNEX IV provides for the inspection and control of milk production holdings, raw milk on collection and processed dairy products by the competent authority.
In the UK, this proposal will be examined by the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee and in the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities.
The proposal will be subject to the EU Co-decision procedure. The proposal will therefore be debated by the European Parliament whose views will be taken into account before Member States reach a Common Position on any necessary amendments.