Food Law News - UK - 2004

FSA Consultation Letter, 1 November 2004

BSE - Consultation on the TSE ( England ) (Amendment) Regulations 2005

Views and comments are sought on a proposal to amend the TSE ( England ) Regulations 2002. Responses are requested by: 1 February 2005

Consultation details

The amendment will enable the enforcement and administration of additional requirements in relation to specified risk material (SRM), which are contained in amendments to the directly applicable European Community TSE legislation, EC Regulation 999/2001, which have yet to be incorporated into domestic legislation.

This will be achieved by extending the definition of 'Community Transitional Measures' in Regulation 3(1) of the TSE (England) Regulations 2002 to cover three additional amendments to EC Regulation 999/2001 in order to be able to fully enforce all requirements relating to the controls on SRM. A copy of the draft regulation is available from the FSA web site

The TSE ( England ) Regulations 2002 is the domestic legislation for the enforcement and administration of EC Regulation 999/2001. There have been a number of amendments to the Community Regulation that are not yet reflected in domestic legislation. EC Regulation 999/2001 is directly applicable legislation which must be complied with by all Member States. Nevertheless this letter is seeking your views on a proposal to incorporate SRM related amendments into domestic legislation. If legitimate concerns are raised by this consultation exercise then the opportunity exists for the Agency to raise them with thewCommission and propose further amending legislation.

As these amendments are also directly applicable in member states, and even though they are not yet covered by domestic TSE legislation, we expect that operators are already in compliance. Furthermore, operators are legally obliged to dispose of SRM, as defined in the Community TSE Regulation 999/20001 (as amended) according to the rules set out in Article 4.2 of EC Regulation 1774/2002 concerning animals by products and enforced in the UK through the Animal By-products Regulations 2003. This should already ensure that the SRM, newly defined in these EU amendments, is disposed of as a category 1 animal by-product and does not enter the food chain. The amendments are:

a) EC Regulation 1494/2002: This came into force in August 2002 and had the effect of excluding certain parts of bovine vertebral column from the definition of SRM. The excluded parts were and still are the transverse processes of the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae and the wings of the sacrum.

b) EC Regulation 1139/2003: The changes contained here were the subject of consultation by the Agency in January 2003 after they were proposed by the Commission and again in August 2003 after the amending Regulation was adopted into EU law. The Regulation became applicable from October 2003 and had the following effects:

c) EC Regulation 1492/2004: This came into force in September 2004 and had the effect of excluding additional parts of bovine vertebral column from the definition of SRM. The additionally excluded parts are the spinous processes of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, the transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae and the median sacral crest. The definition of SRM bovine vertebral column is now as follows:

'The vertebral column excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the spinous and transverse processes of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae and the median sacral crest and wings of the sacrum, but including the dorsal root ganglia'.

This amendment has been introduced on the basis of practicality in relation to boning practices. This means that when removing or boning out the vertebral column, any remnants of the excluded parts that might remain in the meat need not be removed and treated as SRM.

We would welcome your comments on any benefits or drawbacks resulting from the changes set out here.

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