Food Law News - EU - 2005
FSA Consultation Letter, 10 May 2005
OFFICIAL CONTROL - Implementing new EU food hygiene and official feed and food controls legislation
Consultation on draft EU Commission implementing measures and transitional arrangements to facilitate application of the new EU food hygiene and official feed and food controls legislation. Responses are requested by: 27 May 2005
Note: A copy of the Commission's draft text is available on this site - see Draft EU Control Regulation.
Views and comments are sought on an early draft of a possible Commission regulation which lays down implementing measures and transitional arrangements for certain products of animal origin, and the organisation of official controls on those products to facilitate application of the new EU food hygiene legislation. This includes a draft partial Regulatory Impact Assessment.
The key proposals are:
- Implementing measures regarding provisions to apply certain aspects of the EU hygiene legislation concerning certain products of animal origin and the organisation of official controls on those products. These are largely technical issues and in many cases repeat similar provisions in the current legislation.
- Transitional arrangements to provide more time for the application of the regulations for certain products of animal origin and the organisation of official controls on those products.
- Some amendments and derogations to the EU Food Hygiene Regulations.
The consolidated EU Food Hygiene legislation and a new EU Regulation on Official Feed and Food Controls (OFFC) will apply as directly applicable law in the UK on 1 January 2006 . In February 2005, the European Commission began considering a number of implementing measures and transitional arrangements concerning EU Regulations 853, 854 and 882/2004. Both the EU Food Hygiene and OFFC contain provisions for the Commission to come forward with implementing and transitional measures. In some cases this is set out in specific Articles within the EU regulations themselves but in other cases it is part of the general capacity for the European Commission to propose implementing measures under the new regulations.
The implementing measures (Article 2) propose specific provisions to apply certain aspects of the EU hygiene legislation and their official control, whereas the transitional arrangements (Article 3) provide more time for the application of the regulations in certain areas. In a number of cases, the Commission's intention is to provide rules until such a time as it provides a report on the experience gained from applying the regulation in May 2009 and when further measures may be proposed. The proposed Commission Regulation will apply in the UK on 1 January 2006 , subject to any transitional arrangements laid down in the said Commission regulation.
This consultation is being conducted on a UK basis as the provisions of the proposed Commission regulation will apply equally in England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland . Work is in progress to finalise the draft Food Hygiene Regulations 2005 (separate regulations are being made in England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland ) which provide for the enforcement and execution of the EU Food Hygiene Regulations. It is intended that these regulations will also provide for the enforcement and execution of the Commission's proposed implementing and transitional measures. These regulations will apply on 1 January 2006 in the UK .
Timing of the negotiations in the European Commission
These proposals are largely technical in nature. They can be adopted by the Commission under its authority (having had the formal opinion of the Member States). They do not need to be agreed by the Council and the European Parliament under the co-decision process. The proposed Commission regulation has been subject to discussion in Commission Working Groups since February 2005. The Commission has recently consulted European stakeholder organisations and this draft reflects their comments.
There is another meeting with Member States planned on 30/31 May. It is likely to be voted on and agreed at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) in July 2005. The consultation period has had to be shortened to less than the normal 12 weeks because of the timetable to which the Commission is working.
The meeting of the Commission working group planned for 30/31 May is likely to be the last chance for the UK to influence the content of the regulation that the Commission intends to adopt formally in July. Stakeholders have therefore been asked to comment by 27 May. The FSA will continue to ask stakeholders for their views and input during the remainder of the negotiation period and will post updates on this website.
The European Commission has also come forward with implementing measures regarding flexibility in applying the food safety management requirements of the new Hygiene Regulations under Article 5 of Regulation 852/2004. The FSA intends to carry out a consultation on these measures later in the year.
Specific provisions where comments are required from stakeholders
The Commission Regulation covers the following amendments and derogations relevant to the UK :
- Derogations (Article 4) of the proposal lays down the scope of the derogation for traditional products under Article 13(4) of Regulation 852/2004.
- Amendments (Article 5(1) (e)) allows for the approved method for E.coli analysis for live bivalve molluscs. There is also an option for other approved methods to be used at the discretion of Member States.
- Amendments (Article 5(1) (f)) allows feet from bovines, ovines and caprines to be used for human consumption.
- Amendments on Water Retention Agents and Composition Criteria for Minced Meat (Articles 5(g) and 5(h)): This Article lays down restrictions on fresh poultry meat containing water retention agents not to be placed on the market as fresh meat, and compositional requirements for fat and collagen in minced meat. An early version of this Article also covered labelling rules in relation to starch and proteins in meat products when added for a technological purpose. However, this provision has now been removed (see the RIA for further explanation).
- Amendments (Article 5 (1) (l)) of the proposal maintains existing arrangements concerning liquid egg.
- Amendments (Article 5 (1) (k)) of the proposal provides for the approval of teat dips and sprays under Directive 98/8/EC (Biocides Directive).
The Commission regulation covers the following implementing measures relevant to the UK :
- Lists of approved establishments (Annex I): This annex lays down provisions for standardising the format for producing lists of approved establishments in the EC under Article 31 of OFFC which requires that lists of approved establishments are made available to other Member States and to the public. .
- Use of substances to remove surface contamination from products of animal origin (Annex II): This annex lays down provisions for such substances to be approved according to Article 3(2) of Regulation 853/2004.
- Mechanically separated meat (Annex IV): This annex lays down provisions for the calcium content of MSM. The Food Standards Agency has written to the European Commission proposing an increased level of 0.2% calcium on a wet weight basis as 0.1% does not totally reflect practice in industry regarding hand deboned meat (HDM) and is considered too low.
- Analytical methods for detection of marine biotoxins (Annex VI): This annex lays down analytical methods for the detection of marine biotoxins.
- Visual inspection of fishery products (Annex VII): This annex lays down obligations on Member States for the visual detection of parasites in fishery products and limits of volatile nitrogen in fishery products according to Article 11(9) of Regulation 853/2004.
- Specifications for certain heat treatments used to process raw milk or dairy products (Annex (VIII): This annex establishes standards and definitions for pasteurisation and ultra heat treatment of milk.
- Certificates for Importation of frogs legs and snails, gelatine and collagen (Annex IX): This annex lays down import certificate requirements updated to reflect the new EU Food Hygiene legislation.
- Transitional arrangements concerning imports of composite products (Annex XIX): This annex suspends the provisions in Article 6.4 of Regulation 853/2004 applying to the import of composite products before the Commission sets up a list of such products.
The Commission regulation covers the following transitional arrangements:
- Obligations on MS regarding trichinella (Annex V and XI): This annex lays down requirements for the cold treatment of meat in relation to trichinosis and associated inspection and sampling requirements according to Article 18(9) of Regulation 854/2004. The latest version of the proposal includes clarification of terms requested by the UK industry. Annex XI lays down transitional arrangements for this provision. There is a possibility that an opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will grant the UK with country-free status from trichinella. However, for now the UK is obligated to apply these measures.
- Food chain information accompanying animals to the slaughterhouse (Annex III and X): This annex provides for obligations on food business operators at various stages in the food chain. Annex X provides for transitional arrangements specifically for putting these measures in place until 31 December 2009 .
- Raw milk and dairy products (Annex XII): maintains current plate count levels for raw milk until 1 December 2009 .
- Requirements concerning stocks of products before January 2006 (Annex XIV): provides for Member States to continue marketing products only approved nationally under product specific hygiene legislation until their first inspection for approval under the new EU Hygiene legislation. Article 4 of the Commission Regulation also provides for the continued use of equipment that they ordered before the date of application of this regulation until 31 December 2007 .
- Accreditation of laboratories (Annex XV): this provides a four year transitional period for meeting accreditation requirements set out in the OFFC Regulation for laboratories that are involved in carrying out certain analyses of meat samples for official control purposes.
- Use of clean water on fishery products (Annex XVI): This annex lays down requirements for the use of clean water for on-land establishments for certain operations on fishery products until 31 December 2009 .
- Slaughterhouse staff assisting with official controls (Annex XVII): This Annex lays down provisions for slaughterhouse operators to have a four year period in which plant staff currently carrying out certain post mortem procedures could be trained to the same standards as official assistants.
- Ratite meat supplied directly to the consumer (Annex XVIII): This annex allows MS to maintain arrangements to supply small quantities of meat from ratites slaughtered on the farm to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying such meat to the final consumer as fresh meat. Our understanding is that there are a very small number of farms where ratites are farmed in the UK .
- Transitional arrangements concerning imports of composite products (Annex XIX): This annex suspends the import of composite products before the Commission sets up a list of such products.
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