EU Law

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations her Department made to the European Commission at the time that (a) Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 and (b) Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 were negotiated.

Photo of James Paice James Paice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

DEFRA and its predecessor MAFF were directly involved in all EU negotiations that led to the adoption of the TSE Regulation (EC) 999/2001.

The proposal for a TSE Regulation was adopted by the Commission in November 1998 and is based on Article 152(4b) of the Treaty on the protection of public health. The European Parliament adopted its opinion in first reading on 17 May 2000. A Common Position, incorporating all key amendments of the European Parliament was unanimously agreed by the Council in February 2001.

Since its adoption, the regulation has been amended over 40 times to adjust it to new developments and scientific evidence. A comprehensive chronology of BSE/TSE legislation in the EU is available on the European Commission's website. The EU's measures to fight TSE's have led to a significant reduction in cases.

The Commission's TSE Roadmap 2, published in July 2010, notes that the positive trend in the BSE epidemic has continued since 2005, when the European Commission's first TSE Roadmap was published, and that the impact of BSE on human health appears to be more limited than initially feared. The Commission's objective for the coming years is to continue to review the TSE measures while assuring a high level of food safety. Amendments to the TSE measures will be stepwise and supported by scientific advice from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

DEFRA continues to contribute to EU negotiations for more proportionate TSE controls and surveillance, to reduce the economic burden and contribute to a sustainable farming sector.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) contributed to these negotiations in respect of the food safety aspects of Regulation (EC) No. 999/2001, which fall within the policy remit of the FSA. Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 sets down food hygiene rules for products of animal origin which fall within the policy remit of the FSA. The FSA was the lead Government Department in negotiations at European level on Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004. As such, no representations were made by DEFRA to the European Commission at the time the Regulation was negotiated, but DEFRA liaised as appropriate with the FSA.

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