Procedure : 2010/2249(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0195/2011

Texts tabled :

A7-0195/2011

Debates :

PV 05/07/2011 - 13
CRE 05/07/2011 - 13

Votes :

PV 06/07/2011 - 6.8
CRE 06/07/2011 - 6.8
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0328

REPORT     
PDF 178kDOC 97k
26 May 2011
PE 460.984v02-00 A7-0195/2011

on EU legislation on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) and on related feed and food controls - implementation and outlook

(2010/2249(INI))

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Rapporteur: Dagmar Roth-Behrendt

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on EU legislation on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) and on related feed and food controls - implementation and outlook

(2010/2249(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 16 July 2010 entitled "The TSE Road Map 2: a Strategy Paper on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies for 2010-2015" (COM(2010)0384),

–   having regard to the Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council of 25 August 2010 on the overall operation of official controls in the Member States on food safety, animal health and animal welfare, and plant health (COM(2010)0441),

–   having regard to the Communication of the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 2 December 2010 on the future necessity and use of mechanically separated meat in the European Union, including the information policy towards consumers (COM(2010)0704),

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 laying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies(1),

–   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(2) and the Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the experience gained from the application of the Hygiene Regulations (COM(2009)0403),

–   having regard to Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 March 2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs(3),

–    having regard to Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules(4) and the Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the application of that Regulation (COM(2009)0334),

–   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(5),,

–   having regard to Directive 2003/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents, amending Council Decision 90/424/EEC and repealing Council Directive 92/117/EC(6),

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) 1069/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1772/2002(7),

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2011 on the EU protein deficit: what solution for a long-standing problem?(8),

–   having regard to the Commission Decision amending Decision 2009/719/EC authorising certain Member States to revise their annual BSE monitoring programmes,

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions of 22 October 2010 on the above-mentioned Commission Communication of 16 July 2010 entitled "The TSE Road Map 2: a Strategy Paper on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies for 2010-2015",

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0195/2011),

A. whereas the occurrence of BSE in the European Union had reached epidemic proportions in the mid 1990s which led to the introduction of a series of measures aimed at the eradication of BSE and other TSEs,

B.  whereas the number of positive BSE cases in the EU has decreased from 2167 cases in 2001 to 67 cases in 2009; whereas, in the light of this decreasing number of cases, the legislation implemented during this period can be viewed as having contributed to the eradication of BSE and other TSEs in the EU and whereas, hand-in-hand with this declining epidemiological trend, the legislative provisions should be adapted in line with the actual situation in terms of risk,

C. whereas, in view of the continuous declining number of BSE cases, the legislation on TSEs has been modified in recent years and consideration could be given to future changes while ensuring and maintaining the high level of animal and public health in the European Union; whereas these changes could include measures relating to SRM removal, review of the total feed ban provisions, eradication of scrapie, cohort culling and surveillance,

D. whereas an increase in domestic protein crop production is indispensable in order to lower the dependence on soy imports and other protein sources,

General remarks

1.  Welcomes the Commission's TSE Road Map 2 - A Strategy Paper on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies and its proposals for certain revisions of the current TSE legislation regime in the European Union; underlines, however, that certain provisions need thorough assessment and will only be supported under certain conditions;

2.  Underlines the importance of ensuring that the significant decline in BSE cases in the European Union does not lead to less stringent TSE measures or to a reduction in the strict control and surveillance mechanisms in the EU; takes note of the contribution of past and current TSE legislation to the eradication of TSEs in the EU;

BSE surveillance

3.  Takes note of the increase in age limits for TSE testing of bovine animals above 72 months in 22 Member States as introduced by the above-mentioned Commission Decision amending Decision 2009/719/EC authorising certain Member States to revise their annual BSE monitoring programmes;

4.  Urges the Commission to increase the age limits in the remaining Member States only if supported by sound risk assessments in order not to jeopardise a high level of animal health and consumer protection;

5.  Underlines that the surveillance mechanism is an important instrument in monitoring TSE in the EU; expresses its concern about another rise in the age limits for testing in bovine animals in view in particular of the sample size testing which will govern the BSE monitoring system in bovine animals from January 2013; calls on the Commission to inform Parliament about progress and new findings on the sample sizes to be chosen;

6.  Urges the Commission to maintain the testing of risk animals as an important element in continuing to monitor the trend of BSE cases in the EU and ensuring the early detection of any possible re-occurrence in the future;

Revision of the Feed ban

7.  Supports - particularly in the light of the existing protein deficit in the EU - the Commission proposal to lift the provisions banning the feeding of processed animal proteins to non-ruminants, provided that this applies to non-herbivores only, and that:

–   the processed animal proteins are only derived from species which are not linked to TSEs,

   the production and sterilisation methods used for processed animal proteins comply with the highest safety standards and with the rules laid down in the animal by-products Regulation and use the newest and safest technology available,

   the existing prohibitions on intra-species recycling (‘cannibalism’) remain in place,

   production channels for processed animal proteins derived from different species be completely separated,

   the separation of these production channels be controlled by the competent authorities in the Member States and audited by the Commission,

   before the lifting of the feed ban is implemented, a reliable species specific method is in place to identify the species origin of the proteins in animal feed containing processed animal proteins so that intra-species recycling and the presence of ruminant processed animal proteins can be excluded, and

  that the production of processed animal proteins from category 1 or category 2 material be prohibited and that only category 3 material fit for human consumption be used for the production of processed animal proteins;

8.  Stresses that these measures must go hand in hand with a CAP aimed at linking crop and livestock production, the adequate use of grassland areas, increasing domestic protein production and supporting crop rotation systems;

9.  Urges the Commission to introduce measures which ensure that, if the feed ban is to be lifted, the possibility of cross-contamination of non-ruminant material with ruminant material through transportation channels is excluded;

10. Calls on the Commission to investigate the need for separate authorisation for slaughterhouses in which both non-ruminant and ruminant animal by-products are produced, so as to ensure a clear separation of these by-products;

11. Rejects the use of processed animal proteins derived from non-ruminants or ruminants in feed for ruminants;

12. Calls on the Commission to assess the need to control imports of processed animal proteins in order to ensure that intra-species recycling, the use of category 1 and 2 material and violations of hygiene rules can be excluded; underlines that regular and unannounced on-site checks are also necessary to this end;

13. Is in favour of critically examining the setting of a tolerance level for insignificant amounts of non-authorised, non-ruminant animal proteins in feeding stuffs caused through adventitious and technically unavoidable contamination, provided that a method of determining the proportion of these proteins is available;

SRM list

14. Expects the Commission to maintain the strict standards contained in the EU SRM list; emphasises that these strict standards shall not be weakened by any attempts of the OIE to align EU standards to the OIE list;

15. Urges the Commission to consider modifications to the EU SRM list only if supported by scientific facts, under the application of the precautionary principle, if risks to human and animal health can be excluded and if the safety of the food and feed chain can be guaranteed;

Research on TSEs

16. Urges the Commission to further encourage genetic control of scrapie in sheep through breeding and rearing programmes aimed at avoiding inbreeding or genetic drift;

17. Urges the Commission to put into place measures to encourage ongoing research on scrapie resistance in goats and on atypcial scrapie as this could contribute to the eradication of TSEs in the EU;

18. Calls on the Commission to encourage ongoing research to develop ante-mortem and post-mortem rapid BSE-diagnostic tests;

19. Dismisses the Commission proposal to reduce EU funding for research on TSEs;

Cohort culling

20. Takes note of the Commission proposal to review the current cohort culling policy in the event of the occurrence of BSE in bovine herds; stresses that, prior to any change to the cohort culling policy, the following aspects must be taken into account in order to maintain a high level of consumer trust: (1) consumer protection, (2) any risks to human and animal health and (3) continuing the practice of enabling risk managers and legislators to take the necessary immediate action in the case of a re-emergence of BSE in the EU;

Food and feed safety

21. Takes note of the above-mentioned Commission Report on the overall operation of official controls in the Member States in food safety, animal health and animal welfare, and plant health; points out that the report reveals certain shortcomings with regard to the quality of reports from the Member States and urges the Member States to improve the quality of reporting by improving the conduct of national audits with a view to ensuring fulfilment of the regulatory requirements, by singling out cases of non-compliance and by enhancing the performance of control authorities and food business operators; calls on the Commission to execute efficient monitoring of the controls performed by the Member States;

22. Expresses its concern about the contamination of food and feed, e. g. with dioxin, and calls on the Member States to enforce and apply existing regulations on food and feed controls and risk management very strictly and if needed, to strengthen those rules and ensure harmonised implementation by using common guidelines across the internal market;

23. Calls on the Commission to re-evaluate the threshold limit value for dioxin in fish-meal as the current limit allows high dioxin concentration posing a risk to human and animal health;

24. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take measures to ensure that the requirements laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 and in implementing Regulation (EU) No 142/2011 relating to the treatment of animal by-products prior to their transformation into biogas and the use or disposal of digestion residues are complied with and illegal diversion into the feed chain is prevented; urges the Commission to monitor the way in which the current rules are implemented in the Member States to ensure a closed circuit for this activity;

Mechanically separated meat

25. Expresses its concern about current EU legislation and implementation in the Member States on mechanically separated meat;

26. Calls on the Member States to review their implementation of definitions of mechanically separated meat in line with the existing rules;

27. Calls for mandatory labelling of mechanically separated meat in food in order to better inform consumers so they can make informed choices;

28. Asks the Commission to inform third countries about any changes made to the TSE Regulation and measures related to TSEs;

°          °

29. Instructs its President to forward this implementation report to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

             OJ L 147, 31.5.2001, p.1.

(2)

             OJ L 226, 25.6.2004, p.22.

(3)

             OJ L 109, 6.5.2000, p.29.

(4)

             OJ L 165, 30.4.2004, p.1.

(5)

             OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p.1.

(6)

             OJ L 325, 12.12.2003, p.31.

(7)

             OJ L 300, 14.11.2009, p.1.

(8)

             Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0084.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

According to Annex I of the Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the TSE Roadmap 2, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are caused by a transmissible agent called a prion which is an abnormal form of protein. TSEs are a family of diseases occurring in human and animals and are characterised by a degeneration of brain tissue resulting in a "sponge-like" appearance and eventually leading to death. The family includes diseases such as Creutzfeld Jakob Disease in humans, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, scrapie in small ruminants (sheep and goats) and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in cervids. BSE is considered to be transmissible to humans by the oral route causing variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (vCJD). In 1997/1998 BSE had reached epidemic proportions in the EU due to cattle being fed with BSE contaminated processed animal proteins (PAP).

In reaction to the BSE epidemic in the EU, Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 laying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) was adopted (this is known as "the TSE Regulation") and established for the first time in a uniform legal basis for the control and prevention of TSEs and BSE. The Regulation consolidated all previous EU legislation governing TSEs. It has been amended several times since its introduction and several additional measures have been amended or introduced to further eradicate, control and monitor the spread of TSEs. In addition, other measures contribute to a comprehensive safety and surveillance regime governing TSEs. An important instrument among others is the food and feed controls Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules.

Many changes to the TSE-Regulation have been made by way of comitology decisions leading to a patchwork of measures and a list of complex modifications. This has resulted in an unclear overall picture. For this reason, your Rapporteur asked the Commission in 2005 to communicate to Parliament its views and intentions for future changes to the TSE-Regulation and the fight against TSE/BSE. In July 2005, the Commission presented "The TSE Roadmap". As a follow up to the first Roadmap, the Commission, in 2010, presented its Communication "The TSE Road map 2 - A strategy Paper on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies for 2010 - 2015". In the Communication, the Commission outlines its vision on further changes to the TSE eradication measures and the TSE surveillance regime.

In the light of the Commission proposals, the food and feed control reports and other related issues such as high dioxin levels and mechanically separated meat, your Rapporteur emphasises that consumer protection, animal health and the eradication of TSEs must always be the main goals and be of overriding importance when considering changes to the current rules. For this reason, your Rapporteur calls on the Commission and the Member States to stay alert and continue to monitor closely the development of TSEs in case of a re-emergence of TSE/BSE.

In this report, your Rapporteur takes into account the proposals made by the Commission and other relevant issues related to TSEs and food and feed controls. Your Rapporteur agrees with some of the changes proposed by the Commission, but is concerned about certain points. With regard to the changes in the age limits within the TSE surveillance mechanism, it should be emphasised that a Commission proposal introduced the new rules by comitology in January 2011. In principle, your Rapporteur agrees with the rise in the age limits, but expresses concern about any further rise in the age limits in the absence of solid scientific evidence, so as to ensure that positive BSE cases do not go undetected. Although the main public health protection measure is the removal of SRM, and the surveillance programme is to monitor BSE incidence in the cattle population, undetected cases could affect the robustness of the surveillance data. Given its long incubation period, the eradication of BSE will most probably still take years. Therefore, the surveillance mechanism must not be underestimated as an instrument for observation and control.

In addition to the above matters, the following are the main points raised in the report:

1.  The number of TSE/BSE cases in the European Union has dramatically decreased in recent years. This is important evidence that the EU's TSE eradication measures have been successful. However, your Rapporteur points out that this downward trend must not lead to less stringent control and surveillance measures in the future. The highest level of consumer protection and food safety should always be the overarching goal of any measures in this field. Additionally, where scientific knowledge is not broad or advanced enough, the precautionary principle shall always prevail;

2.  As regards the raising of the age limits for BSE testing in bovine animals, the report states that for the remaining Member States ( a rise may only be considered after a risk assessment. As from January 2013, the Commission has introduced a rule for sample size testing instead of general testing for healthy slaughtered animals above 72 months. Only if sample sizes are chosen on the basis of a scientific evaluation can it be assured that no BSE cases will be missed under the surveillance regime. Your Rapporteur also calls on the Commission to inform Parliament about new findings on this matter;

3.  The proposed changes to the feed ban can be supported under certain conditions. The report underlines that the feed ban is one of the most important measures in the eradication of TSEs. Relaxing the feed ban provisions can thus only be done if certain conditions are fulfilled. The prohibition on intra-species recycling ("cannibalism"), strict separation of the production and transportation channels of non-ruminant and ruminant materials, and a reliable method to detect species in processed animal proteins are the most important conditions outlined in the report. The separation of production and transportation channels is considered to be the only suitable measure to prevent cross-contamination of ruminant with non-ruminant material. As ruminants are herbivore (vegetarians), the feeding of animal proteins to ruminants should not be permitted under any circumstances (exceptions already exist for the use of fish-meal in milk replacers for cattle under the age of 12 months as they have special dietary needs). As regards the feed ban, the existing protein deficit in the EU is an important factor in the consideration of a re-introduction of processed animal proteins of non-ruminants. Non-vegetarian animals need a sufficient supply of amino acids which can be found in proteins. Processed animal proteins are a valuable source of proteins. A re-introduction of processed animal proteins derived from non-ruminant material fit for human consumption can be part of the solution to the existing protein deficit in the EU. Currently, the EU has to rely on imports of protein crops from third countries as its own protein crop production does not match demand. Valuable protein sources from animals are wasted due to the current feed ban and the need for valuable protein sources is growing and urgent. Your Rapporteur regards the protein deficit in the EU as an important factor in relation to the partial lifting of the feed ban. It should also again be underlined that processed animal proteins derived only from animal parts fit for human consumption have to undergo additional sterilization methods (through the so-called pressure heat method) - a procedure which they do not have to undergo if designated for the production of food. Taking into consideration this additional measure prior to the production of processed animal proteins, infection risks to animal and human health are non-existent;

4.  Any changes to the SRM list must thus be considered carefully. The EU SRM list is much stricter than the list of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) and your Rapporteur encourages the Commission to continue to base any modification on solid scientific advice even if this will result in a list which is stricter than the international standard;

5.  The report rejects any changes to the current cohort culling provisions. As the number of BSE cases has dramatically fallen in recent years, the killing of the animals belonging to the cohort will not have to be pursued very often. In case of a re-emergence of BSE, the provisions would still be in place and no legislative changes would have to be made. It also has to be emphasised that even today it is possible to allow a Member State to defer the killing and complete destruction of cohort animals until the end of their productive lives;

6.  The report states that the Commission's report on the overall operation of official controls in the Member States on food safety, animal health and animal welfare, and plant health reveals certain quality deficiencies in the reporting of Member States. The Member States are asked to improve the quality of reporting. As already mentioned above, the surveillance mechanism is an important instrument contributing to the eradication of TSEs in the EU. Reports thus have to be submitted in a way in which the Commission can draw conclusions on the overall feed and food controls in the EU. Additionally, the Commission is asked to review the current threshold levels for dioxin in fish-meal as the current limit poses risks to human and animal health;

7.  Your Rapporteur is concerned about the production methods of mechanically separated meat. It is important that the Commission monitors the current situation and assesses the problems with regard to the definition of mechanically separated meat and the stringent application of the rules concerning the production and labelling of mechanically separated meat. The Commission Communication on the future necessity and use of mechanically separated meat in the European Union, including consumer information reveals that the interpretation of the definition of what is to be considered mechanically separated meat varies across Member States. As the Commission states in its report, the differences in definition may lead to unfair competition. Additionally, your Rapporteur is of the opinion that the differences in definition mislead consumers.

The report also stresses the need to foster research in those areas where knowledge remains incomplete. Only in this way can future policy decisions be made and justified.


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

24.5.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

56

0

1

Members present for the final vote

János Áder, Elena Oana Antonescu, Kriton Arsenis, Sophie Auconie, Pilar Ayuso, Paolo Bartolozzi, Sandrine Bélier, Sergio Berlato, Nessa Childers, Chris Davies, Esther de Lange, Anne Delvaux, Bas Eickhout, Edite Estrela, Jill Evans, Elisabetta Gardini, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Nick Griffin, Françoise Grossetête, Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Dan Jørgensen, Christa Klaß, Holger Krahmer, Jo Leinen, Corinne Lepage, Peter Liese, Kartika Tamara Liotard, Linda McAvan, Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė, Gilles Pargneaux, Andres Perello Rodriguez, Mario Pirillo, Vittorio Prodi, Anna Rosbach, Oreste Rossi, Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Carl Schlyter, Horst Schnellhardt, Richard Seeber, Theodoros Skylakakis, Bogusław Sonik, Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu, Salvatore Tatarella, Åsa Westlund, Sabine Wils, Marina Yannakoudakis

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Matthias Groote, Riikka Manner, Marisa Matias, Judith A. Merkies, James Nicholson, Marit Paulsen, Michail Tremopoulos, Anna Záborská

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