Food Law News - EU - 2006

Commission Midday Express, 25 September 2006

IMPORTS - EU imposes strict testing requirements on fishery imports from Brazil

A draft European Commission decision to impose safeguard measures against Brazilian fishery products was endorsed by Member State experts in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 22 September. The measures are being taken due to serious concerns about the safety of these products for consumers, following a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) inspection visit in June. The main concerns relate to the possible level of histamine in Brazilian fishery products, hygiene in the fishery production process and the reliability of the Brazilian approval procedure for fishery establishments. Under this decision, susceptible fishery products exported from Brazil to the EU will have to be tested and certified to show that they do not exceed the limits set out in the EU's food hygiene legislation (Regulation 853/2004 on hygiene for food of animal origin and Regulation 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs).

Member States will step up controls on these products at the border, and will carry out testing on non-certified consignments, at the expense of the operator responsible for the consignment. Results of this testing will be reported by Member State authorities through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed and in quarterly reports to the Commission. In addition, the Commission informed the Standing Committee this week that five fishery establishments in Brazil which were identified by the FVO to be non-compliant with EU hygiene rules will be removed from the list of establishments authorised to export to the EU.

With regard to other food products imported from Brazil which have been subject to recent FVO checks, the Commission is in the process of evaluating the FVO findings and the follow-up information and guarantees provided by the Brazilian authorities. Measures may be taken in the near future if certain deficiencies are not rapidly and adequately addressed by the Brazilians.

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