Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0438/2013

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 07/10/2013 - 16
CRE 07/10/2013 - 16

Votes :

PV 09/10/2013 - 6.9

Texts adopted :

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pursuant to Rule 88(2), (3) and (4)(c) of the Rules of Procedure

on the draft Commission regulation amending Annexes to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004, Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 2074/2005 (D023049/06 – 2013/2720(RPS))

Matthias Groote on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

European Parliament resolution on the draft Commission regulation amending Annexes to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004, Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 2074/2005 (D023049/06 – 2013/2720(RPS))    

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the draft Commission regulation (D023049/06),

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin(1), and in particular Article 10(1) thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption(2), and in particular Article 17(1) and points 3 and 10 of Article 18 thereof,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal of 6 May 2013 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health, plant reproductive material, plant protection products and amending Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, 1829/2003, 1831/2003, 1/2005, 396/2005, 834/2007, 1099/2009, 1069/2009, 1107/2009, Regulations (EU) No 1151/2012, [….]/2013 , and Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC, 2008/120/EC and 2009/128/EC (Official Controls Regulation) (COM (2013)0265 final), which, inter alia, seeks to repeal Regulation (EC) No 854/2004,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety(3) (the General Food Law Regulation),

–   having regard to the Scientific Opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) adopted on 3 October 2011 on the public health hazards to be covered by inspection of meat (swine)(4),

–   having regard to the report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the experience gained from the application of the hygiene Regulations (EC) No 852/2004, (EC) No 853/2004 and (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 (COM(2009)0403),

–   having regard to Question for Question Time in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety 0007/2010 on meat inspections(5),

–   having regard to Article 5a(3)(b) of the Council Decision of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission(6),

–   having regard to Rule 88(2), (3) and (4)(c) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Regulation (EC) No 854/2004, in particular Articles 4 and 5 thereof, lays down the general principles for official controls, requires official controls to include verification of continuous compliance with Union laws, for example on hygiene, animal by-products and animal welfare, and clarifies that the official veterinarian is responsible for judging whether meat is fit or unfit for human consumption and for applying the health mark;

B.  whereas, in addition, recital 6 of Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 provides that the nature and intensity of the official controls should be based on an assessment of public health risks, animal health and welfare, where appropriate, the type and throughput of the processes carried out and the food business operator concerned;

C. whereas Annex I, Section I, Chapter I of Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 specifies that the official veterinarian is to ‘verify continuous compliance with food business operators’ own procedures’ and to check that the operators’ procedures guarantee that meat ‘does not contain patho-physiological abnormalities and changes’; whereas Annex I, Section I, Chapter II, point D(2) specifies that ‘additional examinations are to take place, such as palpation and incision (...), whenever considered necessary’;

D. whereas Article 17(2) of the General Food Law Regulation stipulates that ‘Member States shall enforce food law, and monitor and verify that the relevant requirements of food law are fulfilled by food and feed business operators at all stages of production, processing and distribution’;

E.  whereas, in Article 2, point 3, paragraph 2 of the draft regulation (amendments to Annex I, part B of Chapter IV of Section IV, Points 1 and 2 of Regulation (EC) No 854/2004), the Commission proposes only to allow incision and palpation procedures if the ‘epidemiological or other data from the holding of provenance of the animals, the food chain information or the findings of ante-mortem inspection and/or post-mortem visual detection of relevant abnormalities indicate possible risks to public health, animal health or animal welfare’;

F.  whereas, bearing in mind the high throughput speed of more than 500 pigs per hour in big abattoirs, the above-mentioned proposed amendments to Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 might lead to a situation where:

–   potential dangers to human health could remain undetected and meat unfit for human consumption could enter the food chain(7);

–   abnormalities, such as abscesses or tumours, might not be detected, and even if such abnormalities did not pose food safety risks they might deceive consumer expectations regarding food quality;

–   breaches of animal welfare rules might remain undetected if organs are not examined properly(8);

–   the detection probability of epizootics could decrease(9);

G. whereas, in Article 2, point 4 of the draft regulation (amendments to Annex I, Chapter IX Section IV of Regulation (EC) No 854/2004), the Commission in addition proposes to instruct the competent authorities to verify the correct implementation by food business operators of the process hygiene criterion for Salmonella on pig carcasses, by either official sampling and/ or collecting information on the total number and the number of salmonella positive samples taken;

H. whereas the addition of Salmonella to the list of specific hazards can only be a first step, but granting the competent authorities the discretion to collect information instead of carrying out official sampling could in practice result in no actual verification of the food business operation taking place;

I.   whereas veterinarians from different Member States are concerned that, if the draft regulation is adopted, they would no longer be able conscientiously to perform their tasks;

J.   whereas statistics show that significant numbers of animals, and animal body parts and organs are already declared unfit for human consumption under the current control schemes(10);

K. whereas if the draft regulation is adopted the number of uncontrolled, unchecked parts can be expected to increase;

L.  whereas, in its above-mentioned opinion of 3 October 2011, EFSA points out that ‘a comprehensive pork carcass safety assurance, combining a range of preventative measures and controls applied both on-farm and at-abattoir in a longitudinally integrated way is the only way to ensure effective control of the main hazards (Salmonella spp., Yersinia enterocolitica, Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella spp.) in the context of meat inspection’(11);

M. whereas EFSA also points to the fact that ‘general design of the individual operations, and their order, in industrial high-throughput pig abattoirs have not changed significantly (apart from individual machinery) for decades’, that ‘the present design/order is dictated primarily by a desire for ever higher speed/throughput and cost-reduction but, to date, their actual microbiological effects may appear as a “secondary” criterion’(12), that ‘at ante-mortem inspection, the high number of pigs arriving for slaughter does not allow for proper clinical examination of individual animals’ and that ‘currently FCI does not include all indicators to classify the pigs in relation to public health risk’(13);

N. whereas, in relation to animal welfare, EFSA states that ‘pig health and welfare surveillance information is currently being greatly underutilised’, that ‘the sensitivity of detection of welfare conditions for the purposes of case-finding will generally be higher during abattoir surveillance in comparison to passive farmer reporting’, that ‘the use of welfare-outcome indicators at the slaughterhouse is valuable for monitoring welfare on-farm and during transport and pre-slaughter handling’ and that ‘there will be some reduction in detection probability with a shift from the current to the proposed modified (visual only) systems of pig meat inspection’;

O. whereas, generally speaking, the EFSA Opinion suggests that a number of measures would have to be implemented;

P.  whereas it is therefore not appropriate simply to reduce the tasks of official veterinarians;

Q. whereas, more specifically, in order to meet the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 and properly to monitor and verify food business operators, routine incisions and palpations of organs by official veterinarians and proper sample takings are essential;

R.  whereas the draft regulation seeks to amend Annexes to Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 despite the Commission having, on 6 May 2013, adopted the above-mentioned comprehensive proposal on official controls, which includes, inter alia, the repeal of Regulation (EC) No 854/2004;

S.  whereas the measures proposed within the draft regulation could more appropriately be considered in the context of the ordinary legislative procedure, thus giving the co- legislators the possibility of a proper review in the context of other measures included in that proposal;

1.  Opposes the adoption of the draft Commission regulation amending Annexes to Regulations (EC) No 853/2004, (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2074/2005;

2.  Considers that the draft Commission regulation is not compatible with the aim and content of the basic act;

3.  Considers that measures proposed in the draft Commission regulation should in the first place be considered in the context of the above-mentioned Commission proposal on official controls of 6 May 2013 before any specific measures on reducing control tasks of official veterinarians are taken;

4.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


OJ L 139, 30.4.2004, p. 55.


OJ L 139, 30.4.2004, p. 206.


OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.


EFSA Journal 2011; 9(10): 2351.



OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.


e.g. tuberculosis, red murrain.


e.g. glued lungs.


See also EFSA report p. 15 and 16.


See e.g. Statistisches Bundesamt, Fachserie 3, Reihe 4.3, Schlachttier-und Fleischuntersuchung 2012.


EFSA Journal 2011; 9(10): 2351, p. 17.


EFSA Journal 2011; 9(10): 2351, p. 50.


EFSA Journal 2011; 9(10): 2351, p. 14.

Last updated: 9 October 2013Legal notice