Food Law News - EU - 1999

28 April 1999: HYGIENE - Food hygiene

Economic and Social Committee Press Release (CES/99/41), 28 April 1999

Food hygiene

The Economic and Social Committee has just adopted an Opinion on the Proposal for a Council Directive concerning measures for protection against specified zoonoses and specific zoonotic agents in animals and products of animal origin in order to prevent outbreaks of foodborne infections and intoxications. There were 93 votes in favour, none against and three abstentions. The rapporteur was Mr Leif Erland Nielsen, Various Interests Group, Denmark.

Given the important health and economic implications of zoonoses, the ESC finds it unacceptable, despite the fact that a number of private programmes have been implemented, that a number of Member States have been unable to go further towards implementing the 1992 Directive and that the Commission did not take legal action far sooner to enforce implementation and did not submit proposals for changes.

A rough unofficial estimate of the number of cases of salmonellarelated illness reported in the European Union puts the figure at more than 200,000 a year. The actual number of cases is thought to be 10 to 50 times greater, and the direct cost is esthr> Internal Market Council

This is an illustration of the EU's unacceptable habit of setting deadlines which neither the institutions nor the Member States take seriously. In future, every effort should be made to set realistic deadlines which are then respected.

The Commission must lose no time in reviewing the state of play and submitting appropriate proposals to bring the situation under control as soon as possible. Failing that, there are likely to be serious problems in the workings of the internal market. Available statistics should also be published and a scientific conference organized without delay.

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