Commission Memo (MEMO/03/260), 17 December 2003
The following are extracts from the notes of the meeting.
Food and feed controls
Ministers discussed a progress report on the Commission's proposal for a Regulation on official food and feed controls. The proposed Regulation will streamline and reinforce the existing control system with added bite, consisting of stricter enforcement mechanisms. The proposal aims to cure weaknesses in current legislation by improving the efficiency of control services performed by both Member States and the Commission. It defines tougher enforcement measures. It also creates a framework to support developing countries in meeting EU import requirements and provides for a financial framework to organise activities that enhance food and feed safety. Commissioner Byrne emphasised that the Regulation had to have a wide scope, covering controls on food and feed, but also animal health and welfare. However, it was not the Commission's intention that the Regulation should interfere with how control services are organised in individual Member States.
Pesticides: maximum residue levels in products of plant and animal origin
The Italian Council Presidency presented a progress report on the negotiations in the Council working groups. Commissioner David Byrne thanked Italy for the priority with which the issue was dealt with during its Presidency. He said: "The purpose of the Commission's proposal is the harmonisation, at the European level, of the maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides permitted in products of plant and animal origin. I understand the Irish Presidency has great ambitions with this project and has already scheduled a series of expert meetings. I also look forward to an early first reading in the European Parliament, especially given that this is such an important consumer protection issue."