Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-Fifth Report



APPENDIX I

Memorandum by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

ANIMAL FEEDINGSTUFFS FROM BELGIUM (CONTROL) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/1543)

ANIMAL FEEDINGSTUFFS FROM BELGIUM (CONTROL) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/1764)

  1. By a letter of 23rd June 1999 the Committee has requested that a memorandum be submitted by the Ministry on the following point:

      Explain, in relation to each indent of Article 3 of Commission Decision 1999/363/EC, how the requirements of that Article are implemented by the Regulations; and indicate what provisions of the Commission Decision justify the prohibition on sale of any controlled entity, and the related provisions, set out in regulation 2.

  2. In relation to the first part of the above point, regulations 3 and 4 specifically provide for the implementation of the requirements of Article 3 of the Commission Decision (other than in relation to food or food sources) in so far as that Article obliges member States to-

      (a) place animals and hatching eggs and products arising therefrom under restriction; and

      (b) ensure that those products are destroyed by a means approved by the competent authority unless it can be proved they are not contaminated with dioxins.

  3. Regulation 3 places a duty on food authorities and port health authorities to enforce and execute the Regulations and regulation 4 applies and modifies section 9 of the Food Safety Act 1990 to provide powers of restriction of use and movement and seizure. Those powers may be used to place animals and products under restriction and to make application to have such products destroyed.

  4. This leaves the carrying out of investigations, monitoring and tracing products back, and the provision of information to the Commission. On the former, section 9 of the 1990 Act (as applied by regulation 4) provided a power to inspect products, and regulation 3(2) provided for powers of authorised officers of food and port health authorities to enter premises and inspect records but it is recognised that nothing was specifically provided to ensure that central government had complete information to pass to the Commission; co-operation would therefore be necessary to achieve that. The amendments now effected by the Animal Feedingstuffs from Belgium (Control) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/1764) have accordingly added the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Secretary of State to enforcement authorities and also require the other authorities to provide information to them for the purpose of implementing the Decision, as well as extending the power of entry and inspection.

  5. In relation to the second part of the above point, the sale and related prohibitions in regulation 2 are regarded as being necessary for the proper operation of the means chosen to allow implementation of Article 3 to take place. The Ministry maintains that implementation of Article 3 includes ensuring that the relevant animals and products are placed under restriction and that the latter are destroyed unless shown not to be contaminated with dioxins. The Regulations place responsibility for so doing on food authorities and port health authorities.

  6. The Ministry submits that the powers to seize and apply for destruction of an animal or product on the basis that it is a controlled entity are more readily exercised where the sale or carrying out of other activities in relation to a controlled entity is an offence under the Regulations than when it is not. In the absence of such offences it could for example be difficult to reconcile the seizure and destruction of a product with the lack of any prohibition on the selling of similar products. The sale and related prohibitions are a corollary to the power to seizure and destroy; the relation of the one to the other appears, in the Ministry's view, to be recognised by the Commission in the juxtaposition of recitals (7) and (8) to the Decision.

1st July 1999


 
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