Food Law News - EU - 1997
26 June 1997: BSE - Commission opens infringement proceedings
Brussels (ip/97/567), 26 June 1997
Commission opens infringement proceedings against 10 Member States in relation to BSE.
The European Commission on 26 June 1997 decided to open the first stage of infringement proceedings under Article 169 of the EC Treaty against 10 Member States in respect of their apparent partial failure to implement and/or enforce some aspects of European Union (EU) Legislation concerning Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathies (BSE). The Member States are :
France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany , Spain, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Portugal.
The decision concerns the first stage of the proceedings, namely the dispatch of letters of formal notice giving the Member States concerned the opportunity of submitting their observations within one month. The presumed infringements are principally inadequate implementation of Commission Decision 96/449/EC (heat treatment system for processing animal waste) and failure to sufficiently control the respect of Commission Decision 94/381/EC prohibiting the use of mammalian tissues in feeding stuffs destined for ruminants. Commenting on the decision, Mr Franz FISCHLER, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the meticulous implementation of all legislation relating to BSE is vital if it is to be eradicated and the possible risks to human health pending eradication are to be avoided. Given that some of the shortfalls could be relatively easily resolved, Mr FISCHLER expressed the hope that member states would address these matters as soon as possible so that the infringement procedures can be terminated.
- which has failed to implement Decision 96/449/EC on the grounds that it disputes the efficacy of the technical parameters for processing animal waste imposed by the decision and questions the legal basis on which the text was adopted.
2. Belgium and 3. Luxembourg
- inadequate measures adopted to enforce respect Decision 94/381/EC.
- Failure to complete approval of all plants processing animal waste and failure to provide list of all plants concerned. Also incomplete implementation of Decision 96/449/EC.
- Failure to implement Decision 96/449/EC as far as particle size parameter is concerned. Also national exemption from the requirements of processing under Decision 96/449/EC of certain by-products used for animal feed of processing material fit for human consumption.
- Spain maintains that low risk material processed into animal feed need not be treated in accordance with the parameters of Directive 96/449/EC,
- inadequate enforcement of feed ban imposed by Decision 94/381/EC because no official analysis of feed to detect mammalian meat and bone meal is made,
- failure to ensure that a waste processing plant had had its processing procedures validated as required by Community Legislation.
- Failure to transpose Article 3 (2) of Directive 90/667/EC by the due date,
- Failure to officially approve rendering plants as required by Article 4(1) of Directive 90/667/EEC,
- Commission's interpretation of Decision 96/449/EC as far as processing of bones fit for human consumption into animal feed is disputed by Sweden,
- Sweden's enforcement of the ban under Decision 94/381/EC of incorporating mammalian material in ruminant feed is considered inadequate in so far as the Swedish control régime only envisages annual analysis of 100 samples.
- Inadequate enforcement of feed ban under Decision 94/381/EC as inadequate controls imposed to detect mammalian protein in ruminant feed (notably no microscopic tests).
- Control of the respect of the ban on feeding mammalian material to ruminants (Decision 94/381/EC) is inadequate.
- Failure to co-operate with Commission in answering its written requests for information - breach of Article 5 of the EC Treaty.
In respect of the United Kingdom the number of veterinary inspection visits which have taken place, the obligation imposed on that Member State to supply reports on BSE developments every 2 weeks and the meticulous attention of the Commission to the examination of National Legislation, complaints, press reports etc. appears at the present time to have prevented the maintenance of prima facie infringements.
The Commission Veterinary Inspectorate envisage a series of missions during the current year in order to update information on compliance with their Community obligations in respect of BSE of all Member States including those not subject to the infringement proceedings now being opened.
The Commission is also currently examining a number of complaints against Member States where it is alleged that single market obligations have been infringed by unilateral national measures going beyond those introduced at the Community level.
To go to current EU Food Law News page, click here.
To go to main Food Law Index page, click here.