Commission Press Release (IP/05/1186), 26 September 2005
Two Commission proposals for implementing rules on hygiene and official controls for the food and feed chain were endorsed today by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH). These proposals form part of the ambitious recast of the EU’s hygiene rules and put in place an official control system to ensure Member State compliance with these rules. The new hygiene legislation will enter into force on 1 January 2006.
Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: “The hygiene package is a keystone in the EU’s new body of food safety legislation, and will greatly strengthen consumer protection and food safety throughout the EU. The implementing rules agreed by Member States today are crucial for ensuring that the hygiene legislation is applied fully and effectively when it enters into force next year, so that EU citizens can be confident that the best possible safety practices are applied at every point in the food chain.”
The agreed implementing rules for the hygiene package were drawn up by the Commission following close consultation with Member States and stakeholders. One of the main objectives in drawing up these measures was to ensure that the new rules for food and feed would be properly interpreted and applied, without excessive burden to food operators and businesses. The implementing rules include provisions for food chain information, specific testing methods for marine biotoxins, fishery products, lists of approved food establishments, model health certificates for certain products (frogs’ legs, snails, gelatine and collagen), and derogations for traditional foods, amongst other things.
A separate implementing Regulation outlines specific rules for the control of the parasite Trichinella in meat from susceptible animals. A third proposal with transitional arrangements until 31 December 2009 for some of the new hygiene provisions, to allow change-over from the current to the new regime, was discussed but not approved. Adoption of this proposal is expected by mid-October.
The hygiene package was adopted in April 2004 and consists of a set of four Regulations overhauling all previous food and feed hygiene legislation at EU level (See MEMO/04/95). It was decided at the time of adoption to defer the application of these laws until 1 January 2006 in order to allow the Member States, countries trading with the EU and food business operators, time to conform to the new legal framework. In the meantime, the Commission proceeded to draw up and propose implementing measures for the new legislation.
Following the SCFCAH’s endorsement of the hygiene implementing measures, the Commission will now proceed formally to adopt the implementing legislation. All elements of the hygiene package will enter fully into force on 1 January 2006.