Food Law News - UK - 1997

22 December 1997: BSE - Specified Risk Material (SRM): Unilateral Controls on Imports of Animal Products

Scottish Office Letter, 22 December 1997

Specified Risk Material (SRM): Unilateral Controls on Imports of Animal Products

The European Commissionís Standing Veterinary Committee has decided to defer the introduction of Community-wide controls on the use of SRM, and on imports of, and products containing or derived from, SRM, until 1 April 1998. In the light of this decision, the Government has announced that unilateral action, pending the application of Community-wide measures, is warranted in the interests of public health. Community rules provide for such interim safeguard measures. Consequently, the Specified Risk Material Order 1997 and Specified Risk Material Regulations 1997 have now been laid before Parliament. They will come into force on 1 January 1998.

The controls on imports are provided for in the Specified Risk Material Order 1997. in short, it requires imports - including from other EU Member States - of certain animal products which are destined for food or animal feed use (including petfood) to be accompanied by a supplementary official veterinary certificate (as specified in the Order). Within the certificate is the list of SRMs which must not be incorporated in the various products. These controls are additional to existing rules on imports of animal products

The following is a list of the products destined for food or feed use which will need to be accompanied by the certificate:

Import of the above products will only be permitted if the product:

The requirement for a declaration will apply to all products listed above which are destined fro food or feed use and which are imported on or after 1 January 1998. There will be no exemption for consignments which are already in transit on their way to the Community (including those arriving from Australia and New Zealand). Products which are not for food or feed (such as gelatin for use in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals) will not require the additional certification. Products from Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands will also not required the additional certification.

The list of products is long. But it does not cover products which contain no material of bovine, ovine or caprine origin. Poultry, game, rabbit and pig meat would not therefore require the additional certification but products containing theses meats and other bovine, ovine or caprine material would - for example, poultry meat preparations containing gelatin.

The controls form an interim measure pending the application of Community-wide rules. It is hoped that from 1 April 1998 the controls can be adjusted to take account of new Community legislation. In particular it is hoped that controls on the removal and destruction of SRM across the Community will mean that the import controls would no longer need to be applied to imports from other EU Member States.

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