FSA Consultation Letter, 17 January 2003
This consultation seeks your comments on the Commission's new proposals for a Regulation laying down requirements for feed hygiene.
This proposed measure was introduced briefly by the Commission at the meeting of the Standing Committee on Animal Nutrition on 20 December. The Commission said that it intends to present the proposal formally to the European Parliament and Council in March, without any discussion beforehand.
The proposal fulfils a commitment in the Commission's White Paper on Food Safety of January 2000 which envisaged improving the traceability of feeds, introducing identification of critical control points, strengthening approval/registration of feed establishments and establishing a code for good manufacturing practice. Further details of the Commission's rationale for the proposal is given in the Explanatory Memorandum.
Main features of the proposal
Scope, definitions and obligations (Articles 2-4). The Regulation places an onus on feed business operators for ensuring feed safety. This is from primary production (e.g. on-farm) up to and including placing feed on the market. It also applies to the feeding of food-producing animals and imports from third countries.
The definition of 'feed business operators' in EC Regulation 178/2002 on the general principles of food law is 'natural or legal persons responsible for ensuring that the requirements of food law are met within the feed business under their control'. You should note that food law is defined so as to cover feed. 'Feed business' is defined as 'any undertaking whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any operation of production, manufacture, processing, storage, transport or distribution of feed including any producer producing, processing or storing feed for feeding to animals on his own holding.'
Hazard analysis and critical control points system (HACCP) (Article 6). Feed business operators (excluding those involved in primary production) would be required to put in place and operate procedures based on HACCP.
The general HACCP principles are outlined in Article 6. However, it is also envisaged that, to help facilitate the use of HACCP, Member States may develop national guides to good practice. There is also the possibility for the Commission to draw up EC guides on good practice for hygiene and the application of HACCP principles (see Articles 11, 12 and 13). The proposal recognises that measures may need to be introduced to help small businesses introduce HACCP.
Financial guarantees (Article 7). Feed business operators will need to have financial guarantees, such as insurance, to cover the costs of risks related to their businesses. These guarantees, for example, would cover the costs of withdrawal of feed from the market and the destruction of products.
Approval and Registration (Article 8, 9 and 10). Directive 95/69/EC currently requires the approval or registration of certain establishments operating in the feed sector. This is mainly linked to the manufacture, marketing or use of certain feed additives. Approval requires a prior inspection visit by the enforcement authority to ensure that the establishment is working to defined criteria (e.g. standards of manufacture, storage, personnel and record-keeping.) Registration involves the placing of establishments on a list, with follow-up checks.
The proposed Regulation extends and strengthens these arrangements. Some establishments currently subject to registration would require approval. In addition, the Regulation would appear to require all feed business operators not currently covered by the current approval/registration regime to be registered by Member States (Article 8.4). We will seek clarification of this from the Commission. This seems to include suppliers of feed materials and farmers producing feed for their own animals.
Member States would have to draw up and publish a list of approved feed businesses.
Imports (Article 14). Feed business operators would only be permitted to import feed including, single feed materials, from third countries if the third country of despatch and the establishment of despatch appears on a list. These lists will be drawn up under the provisions of the forthcoming EC Regulation on Feed and Food Controls. Feed from such establishments will need to comply with the requirements of the Feed Hygiene Regulation.
Repeal (Article 20) Directive 95/69/EC is to be repealed. So too is Directive 98/51/EC which, amongst other things, covers the existing conditions relating to third country feed establishments where additives and feeds containing them are concerned.
Annexes I, II and III. As mentioned above, Directive 95/69/EC sets out criteria which approved and registered feed establishments and intermediaries have to adhere. The Annexes in the current proposal contain provisions which would apply to all feed businesses, as appropriate. Annex I covers provisions applicable to feed businesses involved in primary production. Annex II applies to feed businesses operating other than at the level of primary production. Annex III is a code of good animal feeding practice, which must be followed by those feeding food-producing animals.
Clarification will be required on the intended coverage of the proposals. For example, the coverage of what is meant by 'primary production' in the context of feed hygiene. The FSA would be grateful however for any comments on the draft proposal.
The Commission has said that it is willing to receive and act upon urgent comments
before it presents the proposal to the European Parliament and to the Council
in March. This leaves little time for Member States and other interested bodies,
including European federations and associations, to make representations which
could be taken into account. Within a longer time frame the UK negotiators will
wish to prepare for the discussions on the proposal under the Greek Presidency.
The FSA would therefore be grateful to receive comments by 10th March 2003.
They are not able to give longer if the Commission presents its proposed measure
to the Council of Agriculture Ministers on 14 March as planned.