Report on meeting of Commission Working Group on food hygiene legislation: 29 January 2007
Wednesday 14 February 2007
This reports on a meeting of the Commission Working Group on Hygiene Legislation held on 29 January 2007 (and follows the report on the previous meeting of this Group on 11 December 2006).
Pdf versions of the documents referred to are linked to at the foot of this page
Member States are to report their experience with the legislation to the Commission by 14 February 2007 � this is to inform discussion at the next meeting of the Working Group, planned for 5 March 2007 – any requests from Member States for changes will need explanation and justification
Some Member States voiced concerns about the tightness of this timetable and the lack of scope for consulting stakeholders. The Commission said it was keen initially to get Member States' / competent authorities' views and said that stakeholders should comment via their European organisations. The Commission would ensure that stakeholders and competent authorities' views were made known to each other. The Commission will consult European stakeholders in the Committee of the Food Chain after Easter (probably in a Working Group.)
All Member States indicated agreement to the Commission view that the review and report should only consider issues that required the co-decision process (i.e. amendments to any article in 852/2004, 853/2004 and 854/2004 and Annex I definitions in 853/2004.) In relation to issues that might be identified to be dealt with under comitology procedures, the Commission intended to keep these in play, but would be guided by whether these were covered in the transitional legislation (i.e. did not need to be tackled until closer to the end of the transition period of end 2009.)
SANCO/2696/2006 Rev 4
The Commission introduced the latest version of SANCO/2696/2006 Rev 4, a proposed Commission Regulation amending Commission Regulation 2074/2005.
Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP)
The proposal now contained an annex on ASP. There was a limited technical discussion about ASP detection methods and Member States were invited to send written comments to the Commission.
Presence of official veterinarian (OV) during post-mortem inspection
There now appears to be general acceptance of the proposal for criteria for the competent authority to adapt the requirement for OV to be present during post-mortem inspection. Minor amendments made – this issue is now nearing end of consideration
No objection by Member States to inclusion of the term 'discontinuous slaughter'. The UK pointed out that slight change to the definition was required following addition of game handling establishments. The Commission confirmed that proposal requires OV to visit establishments 'at least once a day when slaughter activities take place or have taken place' (i.e. not necessarily on the day of slaughter.)
Title of section on visual only inspection now refers to 'risk-based meat inspection'.
Clarification was sought on serological or microbiological monitoring for conditions that might be missed by visual-only inspection; the Commission stated that it was for the competent authority to identify such conditions and to carry out the monitoring.
The Commission explained that the purpose of the proposed Commission Regulation SANCO/140/2007, amending Regulation (EC) 853/2004 was to add an acid treatment to the possible processing of bone for the manufacture of gelatine.
Clarification was sought as to the requirement for identification of origin of hides consigned to a processing establishment from an intermediate collection centre – did this require the tracing of hides to the slaughterhouse? This issue arose during a recent FVO mission to one Member State. The Commission's view was that in such circumstances the collection centre was the origin – it was for the collection centre to maintain traceability of hides it received.
The issue of 'specific authorisation' of collection centres and tanneries supplying raw materials for gelatine production was again raised. The Commission stated that it was working with animal by-product colleagues to produce draft guidance on this issue. The Commission also said that the presence of materials both eligible and ineligible for production of human consumption gelatine was permissible provided there was physical or time separation.
A proposed Commission Regulation, SANCO/99/2007, amending Commission Regulation (EC) 2075/2005.
This is a technical amendment permitting the use of liquid pepsin in place of powdered pepsin in processing of samples. The Community Reference Laboratory has verified that sensitivity of detection is unaltered by this change.
One Member State noted that some commercially available pepsin is in form of a paste.
Discussion about a Commission 'non-paper' on cold stores.
The Commission noted uncertainty as to whether cold stores required approval. This was in part caused by the definition of retail (including wholesale) found in Regulation (EC) 178/2002.
The Commission encouraged Member States to reflect whether the table in its non-paper, which lists some identified problems and provides some suggested solutions, fully identified the issues and to comment on the legislative solutions proposed.
Further discussion of the possible legislative elements promised for next meeting.
Seven Member States (including the UK) volunteered for a Working Group to consider the Community Cold Store Guidance.
The planned date of the next meeting is 5 March 2007.