Select Committee on European Scrutiny Twentieth Report


COM(00) 438

Draft Council Regulation on the hygiene of foodstuffs.

Draft Council Regulation laying down specific hygiene rules for food of
animal origin.

Draft Council Regulation laying down detailed rules for the organisation of
official controls on products of animal origin intended for human

Draft Council Regulation laying down the animal health rules governing the
production, placing on the market and importation of products of animal
origin intended for human consumption.

Draft Council Directive repealing certain Directives on the hygiene of
foodstuffs and the health conditions for the production and placing on the
market of certain products of animal origin intended for human
consumption, and amending Directives 89/662/EEC and 91/67/EEC

COM(01) 749

Commission Communication on the withdrawal of the proposal for a Regulation laying down detailed rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.

Legal base:(a) Articles 37, 95 and 152(4) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
(b) Article 250(2) EC
Document originated:(b) 11 December 2001
Forwarded to the Council: (b) 11 December 2001
Deposited in Parliament: (b) 23 January 2002
Department:Food Standards Agency and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Basis of consideration: EM of 7 February 2002
Previous Committee Report: (a) HC 28-iii (2000-01), paragraph 1 (17 January 2001)
To be discussed in Council: No date set
Committee's assessment:Legally and politically important
Committee's decision:For debate in European Standing Committee C (decision reported on 17 January 2001 and confirmed on 18 July 2001)


  2.1  According to the Commission, there are at present 17 Directives dealing in one way or another with food hygiene, which have gradually developed since 1964 in response to the needs of the internal market, but which take into account also the need for a high level of consumer protection. The Commission considers that this multiplicity of measures, the inclusion of provisions covering not only hygiene but also animal health and official controls, and the existence of different hygiene regimes for products of animal origin and other products, has led to considerable confusion. Consequently, as foreshadowed in the White Paper[2] it produced at the beginning of 2000, it proposed in July 2000 (document (a)) to recast the existing requirements, and, in the process, to separate aspects of food hygiene from animal health and control issues.

  2.2  The ways in which it proposed to do this were set out at some length in paragraphs 1.2-1.21 of our predecessors' Report of 17 January 2001, in the light of which they recommended the proposals for debate in European Standing Committee C. Also, although they said that they hoped the debate would take place in good time for the House to make a meaningful contribution to what promised to be a lengthy process of negotiation in Brussels, they suggested that it might be sensible to delay the debate until the results of the consultation exercise launched by the Government were available, and there had been an opportunity for it to update its two initial Regulatory Impact Assessments.

The current proposals

  2.3  Document (b) comprises a Communication from the Commission, pointing out that, since it made its original proposals, new scientific evidence has become available, particularly on issues relating to meat safety. As this requires a fundamental revision of its earlier proposal on the health rules applying to official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption (document (a)(iii)), it intends to withdraw that part of the proposal, and to replace it at a later date by a new proposal. The Commission also suggests that this would allow the necessary progress to be made on the rest of the package.


  2.4  Since the proposal which has been withdrawn forms part of a wider series of proposals on which there is an outstanding debate recommendation, we think it right to make the House aware of this change, and of the reasons for it. However, in doing so, we note that the original debate recommendation was made by our predecessors over a year ago, and, although they did so in terms which left a good deal of flexibility over its timing, we think it would be helpful if the Government could indicate how far the negotiations in Brussels have progressed, and when it considers the debate might now be held.

2   (20875) 5761/00; see HC 23-x (1999-2000), paragraph 2 (1 March 2000). Back

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