Council Minutes (6160/03), 20 February 2003
The following are extracts from the minutes
Official Food and Feed Controls
The Council took note of the presentation by Commissioner BYRNE of a proposal for a European Parliament and Council Regulation on official food and feed controls and of the comments of some delegations concerning in particular the financing of these controls. Several delegations welcomed the initiative taken by the Commission in this sector.
The proposal lays down the rules to be respected by the competent authorities responsible for carrying out official controls as well as the tasks of the Commission with regard to the organisation of those controls. It is the result of a review of the existing Community rules on the subject, which were adopted separately for the animal feed sector, the food sector and the veterinary sector. It covers the entire range of activities covered by feed and food law, which includes feed and food safety but also other aspects that relate to consumer protection, such as feed and food labelling.
Given that the procedure of co-decision is required, the opinion of the European Parliament is legally binding and the adoption of this proposal is not expected in the short term.
GMO-Seeds: Co-Existence with Non-GMO Productions Chains
The Council took note of the program of work presented by the Commission on
this topic as well as the schedule and the working procedure envisaged by this
Institution to deal with this issue. The Council held an exchange of views on
the subject and agreed to come back on this issue once the Commission will have
presented concrete proposals. It is recalled that the Italian delegation already
raised this issue in the Council under "other business" at the December
and January sessions. A Communication by the Commission on biotechnology and
the question of coexistence between Genetically Modified seeds and conventional
agriculture should be released on 5 March 2003. Commissioner FISCHLER should
address a specific Communication on this subject the same day. The four Commissioners most concerned by this topic (Agriculture, Food safety, research and environment) should meet prior to this Communication.
GMO-Seeds: Authorisation Procedure
The Council took note of the information provided by the Commission on the
issue of the authorisation procedure for new GMOs. The Commission indicated
that it would examine this issue in the beginning of March in a meeting gathering
national experts and members of the Commission. The examination will deal in
particular with the link between the ongoing applications for authorisation
and the future legislation in the GMO sector (labelling, traceability,
scientific assessment and authorisation of GM foodstuffs and feedingstuffs). The Council after an exchange of views on the subject invited the Commission to keep it informed on these ongoing procedures.
This information follow the two political agreements reached by the Council in 2002 on the draft Regulation on genetically modified food and feed on 27 November and on the draft Regulation concerning the traceability and labelling of GMOs and of food and feed products produced from GMOs on 9 December.
The Council adopted a common position on a proposal for a Directive concerning the prohibition on the use in stockfarming of certain substances having a hormonal or thyrostatic action and of beta-agonists (doc. 14502/02). The United-Kingdom delegation abstained. In the framework of the co-decision procedure, the common position will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading.
The aim of the proposed directive is to ensure that the Community rules concerning the use of hormones in stockfarming are in accordance with the general principles of food law set out in regulation 178/2002. In particular it aims at ensuring that the high level of health protection mandated by article 152(1) of the Treaty is attained, in conformity with the international obligations of the Community, through measures based on a comprehensive assessment of the available scientific evidence, or, as far as the available evidence on the extent of the harmful effects of certain substances is incomplete, on the precautionary principle.
The draft Directive keeps the essential elements of the proposal, in particular regarding the need for maintaining a prohibition on the use of oestradiol 17 R and its ester-like derivatives for growth promotion purposes and to introduce a temporary precautionary prohibition on the use of other hormones while additional scientific information, necessary for a fuller assessment of the risk, is gathered.
It is recalled that the Council reached political agreement concerning the text of the proposal at its December session in 2002.
The Council adopted two common positions, on a proposal for a Directive on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents, and on a proposal for a Regulation on the control of salmonella and other specified food-borne zoonotic agents (docs 14856/02 + 14857/02). The German and the Greek delegations abstained. In the framework of the co-decision procedure, the common position will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading.
The proposed Directive aims to guarantee efficient and harmonised monitoring in the Member States. The proposed Regulation aims to set targets to reduce the presence of infectious agents in animal species and if necessary throughout the food chain.
It is recalled that the Council reached political agreement concerning both of these texts at its November session in 2002.
The Council adopted a common position on a proposal for a Directive, amending Directive 2000/13/EC as regards indication of the ingredients present in foodstuffs (docs 15514/02 + ADD 1+ ADD 2). The Austrian delegation voted against. In the framework of the co-decision procedure, the common position will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading.
The proposed Directive aims at providing the consumer with more comprehensive information about the composition of food products and alcoholic beverage, particularly in order to make obligatory listing ingredients susceptible to cause allergies or intolerances. It amends Directive 2000/13/EC especially with regard to the current possibility of not indicating the components of compound ingredients, which form less than 25% of the final product.