Food Law News - EU - 2008


EP Press Release, 19 June 2008

HYGIENE EP Resolution: Parliament opposes sale of chlorinated chicken in EU

MEPs are calling on the Council to reject the Commission's proposal to authorise four antimicrobial treatments for poultry carcasses for human consumption. Imports of such poultry meat might undermine European standards, says the House.

A resolution adopted by 526 votes in favour to 27 against with 11 abstentions stresses that authorisation of these four antimicrobial treatments for poultry carcasses would pose "a serious threat to Community rules and standards". This would constitute a setback for the efforts and adjustments made by poultry professionals with a view to reducing the incidence of bacterial infection in the EU.

MEPs draw attention to the "considerable investments" made in this area by European poultry professionals, in accordance with Community legislation. This was done to reduce pathogen contamination by implementing a total food chain approach.

This decision is likely to undermine European consumer confidence in foodstuffs sold within the European Union, says the resolution.

MEPs ask to be consulted and informed by the Commission before any further decisions in preparation for the October 2008 TEC meeting.

Background

According to MEPs, the Commission's decision of 28 May 2008 proposal to authorise poultry treated with chemicals or antimicrobial substances follows on from the request by the United States for imports into the European Union.

At its meeting of 2 June 2008 the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health rejected the above Commission proposal by 316 votes to nil, with 29 abstentions, thus sending out a clear and forceful message prior to the EU-US Summit in Brdo, Slovenia.

The Agriculture Council of 15 July 2008 is expected to discuss the Commission's decision. Ministers can reject the decision by qualified majority.


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