Food Law News - EU - 2003

Commission Press Release (IP/03/1057), 22 July 2003

HYGIENE - Better food hygiene: Commissioner Byrne welcomes political agreement about official controls on food of animal origin

Commissioner David Byrne has welcomed the political agreement reached at the Agriculture Council today on new official controls to ensure the hygiene of food of animal origin destined for human consumption. The proposal is one of five making up the so-called “hygiene package” of measures foreshadowed in the action plan of the Commission's White Paper on Food Safety. This Regulation, proposed by the Commission in July 2002, provides for revised rules for official controls on fresh meat, live bivalve molluscs, and milk and milk products. Its central aim is to ensure a high level of protection for consumers, giving enhanced guarantees for the safety of products of animal origin. The Regulation will go back to the European Parliament this autumn for a Second Reading.

"Sound effective hygiene rules are the bottom line to ensure safe food. This Regulation will update the EU's rules on official hygiene controls of food of animal origin. Together with the other elements of the "hygiene package" proposed by the Commission, it implements the principle of "farm to fork" control and ensure a coherent and effective approach to food safety. I am grateful to Council and Parliament for their hard work on this legislation. I am sure they will continue to work constructively over the coming months to complete the job", said David Byrne, EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner.

Details of the proposed new rules

As regards meat, the proposed Regulation will:


The “hygiene package” of proposals aims to merge, harmonise and simplify very detailed and complex hygiene requirements currently scattered over seventeen Directives.

The overall aim is to create a single, transparent hygiene policy applicable to all food and all food operators, together with effective instruments to manage food safety, and any possible future food crises, throughout the food chain.

The basic principles underpinning the new hygiene rules are threefold:

The hygiene proposals are subject to the co-decision procedure. Once adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the Regulations will replace the Directive on the hygiene of foodstuffs (93/43) and sixteen product specific Council Directives.

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