Food Law News - EU - 2003

Commission Memo (MEMO/03/82), 9 April 2003

CONTAMINANTS / HYGIENE - Nitrofurans in Portugal / Control of Hygiene of products of animal origin

Results of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of 8 April 2003

Nitrofurans in Portugal

The Portuguese Agriculture Minister updated the Council on the on-going action plan to control Portuguese food of animal origin for residues of the illegally used veterinary drug nitrofuran.

Commissioner Byrne said: "Regrettably this illegal substance has found to be extensively used in Portuguese poultry farming and beyond. The action plan established by Portugal to get control of the situation is ongoing. We are examining the results carefully in order to ensure that all the appropriate measures are being taken. I recognise the efforts made by the Portuguese authorities towards identifying the origin of the problem. The current situation in Portugal demonstrates that our rigorous residue monitoring system is working and that improved detection and testing methods are contributing to our primary objective of ensuring the safety of food and the health of our citizens."

He also requested Member States again to submit to the Commission the results of their monitoring for nitrofurans.

Control of Hygiene of products of animal origin

Commissioner Byrne gave a progress report on the state of play of the legislative proposal to the Council. He made clear that the recently proposed law on official food and feed controls contains the general rules to apply to official controls on all food and feed.

The 'Hygiene 3' (5 proposals on hygiene are currently in the co-decision procedure) proposal on the agenda of the Council, by contrast, contains specific rules for official controls on products of animal origin. It would apply in addition to the proposal on official feed and food controls.

Mr Byrne also spoke about the role of the official veterinarian.

The official veterinarian has a key role to play in the official controls on meat production. The knowledge and skills of the official veterinarian are essential for the design and implementation of science- and risk-based meat inspection. "This, however, does not preclude some flexibility as regards the presence of the official veterinarian in abattoirs and I encouraged the Council to work towards that objective."


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