Food Law News - EU - 1998

26 March 1998: BEEF / ADMINISTRATION / MEAT - Agriculture Council Minutes, Meeting 16/17 March

Agriculture Council Meeting, 16/17 March 1998

The following are 3 items taken from the minutes of the meeting:

Exports of beef from the United Kingdom

The Council adopted, by a qualified majority, a Commission proposal submitted under the procedure laid down in Article 17 of Directive 89/662/EEC (procedure III(b)), with the Spanish and Luxembourg delegations abstaining and the Belgian and German delegations voting against.

The text makes provision for a lifting of the ban on the dispatch to the other Member States and export to third countries of deboned beef and beef products derived from animals born and reared in Northern Ireland, originating in herds certified as free of BSE and slaughtered in Northern Ireland in slaughterhouses exclusively used for that purpose. The meat must have been deboned in cutting plants and stored in cold stores in Northern Ireland exclusively used for products from those slaughterhouses.

This Decision sets out the conditions for the marking and labelling of the eligible products from Northern Ireland. The Decision also confirms the present restrictions as regards the remainder of the United Kingdom as well as the detailed rules currently in force for Community controls and inspection.

Food, Veterinary and Plant-Health Control and Inspection

The Council:

In the communication it forwarded to the Council and the European Parliament, the Commission indicates the progress made to date with the action scheduled on consumer health and food safety and describes the future action that will be taken in the light of the recommendations made in the report by the Commission's Inspection General Services dated 13 October 1997. The communication also explains the reasons for the withdrawal of the proposal (COM(96) 223 final) on the establishment of a Veterinary Inspection Agency.

Microbiological Testing of Meat

The Council adopted an amendment to Decisions 95/409/EC and 95/411/EC concerning the methods to be used for microbiological testing to be undertaken on meat intended for Finland and Sweden.

This amendment introduces the possibility, when testing samples for salmonella, of using alternative microbiological methods offering equivalent guarantees to the standardized method of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 6579: 1993 which remains the reference method in the event of a dispute between Member States).

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