Report of EU meeting Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH): 15 July 2008
Monday 21 July 2008
Report of meeting
- Guidelines for notification of National Industry Guides were agreed. SCoFCAH approved development of a Community Industry Guide for natural sausage casings.
- All five proposals (see below) amending the hygiene legislation were adopted without changes in substance. However, changes required by the Commission Legal Services as a result of intra-service consultation in the Commission, meant further revisions of all the proposals were tabled on the day. All five will apply ten days take direct effect ten days after publication in the EU Official Journal (OJ) which follows European Parliament consultation – timing unknown.
- No comments on, or objections to, the Commission’s draft proposal to update the Decision on countries’ BSE risk categorisation in the light of the recent World Organisation for Animal Health (known as the OIE from its original French acronym) resolution. To be voted at the SCoFCAH 16/17 September.
- Other business not reported further.
- Presentation by the Italian Health Officials on ‘cheese incident’ - dating from mid 2006, but only recently exposed by the media.
- Announcement by the Presidency of a workshop on ‘traditional products and food safety’ planned for 23/24 October in Paris.
- Announcement by Belgium of an international colloquium on Emerging Animal Diseases to take place in Brussels on 17 October. Further information on the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain website.
- Next meeting 4 and 5 September – Hygiene Working Group
Notification of National Industry Guides
The Commission outlined the approach by which Member States (MS) are to notify National Industry Guides for inclusion on the SANCO web site. The Commission confirmed also that new ‘key words’ to classify national Guides could be suggested by MS at any time. Only guides formally recognised by MS in accordance with the procedures of Regulation (EC) 852/2004 should be notified. MS were asked to review and edit the existing list (on the SANCO web) as appropriate.
Community Industry Guide for natural sausage casings
No objections from MS to the European Natural Sausage Casings Association (ENSCA), a European trade association proposal to develop this Guide. An initial draft is expected from ENSCA by the end of 2008 and a restricted working group of MS is likely to give it consideration early in 2009. The Commission will clarify to ENSCA that Community Guides do not require recognition at national level as responsibility for recognition falls to the Commission, advised by SCoFCAH.
Proposed amendments to the EU food hygiene regulations
Unanimous approval given at the vote to the following amending legislation (copies of which can be found at the foot of this page): SANCO/42/2008 rev 6, SANCO/44/2008 rev 7, SANCO/1729/2008 rev 3 and SANCO/1730/2008 rev 2.
SANCO/43/2008 rev 6 (amending 853/2004) gained a qualified majority in favour.
Detail was otherwise discussed on a commodity basis rather than proposal by proposal. These are set out below:
Clean water/seawater – the word ‘such’ was replaced by ‘clean’ in the final subparagraph of Art 1 of SANCO/42/2008 rev 6 for precision.
Fish oil –There was brief discussion of intensive industry lobbying (immediately prior to this meeting) against the proposals on the grounds of potential supply disruption. Commission took the view that if the proposals were not adopted then the trade position would automatically become more difficult when the present time limited transitional provisions fall. The Commission undertook to review the situation if industry fears materialise and confirmed that it will write to the industry.
The Commission allayed MS fears of intra-EU trade disruption if MS apply the permitted national derogations for TVB – N.
Poisonous fish – No resistance to the Commission’s evidence-based proposal to extend the existing controls to frozen fish of the relevant species.
Identification marking – It was pointed out that the draft did not resolve all known issues. The Commission acknowledged the point but did not commit to further consideration.
Milk – total bacterial count (TBC) standards prior to heat treatment – The Commission acknowledged requests from some MS that further consideration should be given to extending application of these standards prior to other milk processing, such as microfiltration, but would not change their proposal for now.
Eggs – a minor change was made reflecting earlier discussions. The word 'final' had been inserted before ‘consumer’ in the penultimate paragraph of SANCO/43/2008 rev 6.
Use of slaughterhouse staff – there had been earlier discussion of whether detailed rules ‘may’ or ‘must’ be laid down in this area. MS agreement had been for the former. On the basis that the Commission ’may’ make detailed rules at any time under their existing powers it was no longer necessary to maintain the sentence addressing this - which was therefore deleted.