Select Committee on European Scrutiny Eighth Report


COM(00) 574

Draft Council Regulation laying down the health rules
concerning animal by-products not intended for human

COM(00) 573

Draft Council Directive amending Council Directives
90/425/EEC and 92/118/EEC as regards health requirements
for animal by-products.

Legal base: Article 152(4)(b) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
Department: Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Basis of consideration: Minister's letter of 6 March 2001
Previous Committee Report: HC 28-iii (2000-01), paragraph 2 (17 January 2001) and HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraph 3 (28 February 2001)
To be discussed in Council: Following receipt of European Parliament opinion
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: For debate in European Standing Committee A (decision reported on 17 January 2001, and debate held on 7 March 2001)


  2.1  In October 2000, the Commission put forward proposal for amending the main Community rules governing the disposal and processing of animal by-products (animal carcases, parts of animal carcases, and products of animal origin not intended for human consumption). The proposals are set out more fully in our Report of 17 January 2001, which concluded that, although detailed and highly technical, they were clearly important, and should, therefore, be debated in European Standing Committee A, once the Government had produced a revised Regulatory Impact Assessment. In the meantime, we asked the Minister to clarify the relationship between what was proposed here, and the various measures which we had considered relating to the prevention and control of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Most of the information we had requested was contained in a Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum of 26 February from the Minister, but, as we pointed out in our Report of 28 February, she failed to address our query over the relationship between this proposal and the various TSE measures. We therefore said that, whilst this outstanding point need not hold up the debate which had been scheduled for 7 March, we would nevertheless still like to have it clarified.

Minister's letter of 6 March 2001

  2.2  In her letter of 6 March, the Minister of State (Lords) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman) says that the proposals are concerned with risks from transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), conventional pathogens, and toxic substances and residues, but that many of the new controls have been driven by the BSE crisis, which had focussed attention on the controls in place to protect human and animal health, and on the ways in which animal by-products are used or disposed of. The Belgian dioxin crisis also informed thinking in this area.

  2.3  The Minister adds that the BSE crisis also prompted public concern about the quality of the ingredients which are used in livestock feedingstuffs, and about the re-cycling of animal by-products to other animals of the same species - issues which have been under discussion in Europe since 1997 and addressed by the Scientific Steering Committee on a number of occasions. Though that Committee has not recommended a ban on intra-species recycling, it has advised that, where this cannot be avoided, fallen stock and other condemned material should not be used, and the current proposal would implement that recommendation.

  2.4  The TSE Regulation , on the other hand, focuses on the eradication of TSEs in livestock, the protection of public health, and the conditions which must be met in order to ensure that TSEs are not spread through international trade in livestock and livestock products. She adds that there is inevitably some overlap between the two areas, notably as regards the disposal of risk materials, and the controls on the inclusion of animal proteins in livestock feedingstuffs, but that, before the current proposal is adopted, it will be checked for any unintentional discrepancies with other legislation, including the TSE Regulation.


  2.5  We are grateful to the Minister for this clarification, which we understand was made available to Members of European Standing Committee A and the Vote Office before last week's debate. We are, however, summarising the Minister's comments in this Report for the benefit of the House as a whole.

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