Brussels, 12 June 2001
BSE: Commission toughens measures against Transmissible Spogniform Encepalopathies
The Commission today agreed to put forward a series of proposals in anticipation of the application from 1 July 2001 of Regulation 999/2001 of the Council and the European Parliament on Transmissible Spongifrom Encephalopathies (TSE). This regulation includes a framework of Community measures to combat animal and public health risks resulting from TSE's. Today's proposals reduce the age for mandatory BSE testing of cattle in a higher risk group to 24 months (instead of 30) and introduce random TSE testing on sheep and goats. They prolong the present ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal. The range of imported products to the EU to be governed by protective measures is also proposed to be extended with effect from 1 October 2001. Finally, to accommodate the wishes of the Member States and the Parliament the Commission is proposing to amend BSE eradication rules, introducing an option for local competent authorities not to require the killing of all cattle in herds where a BSE case has been confirmed.
"Now that we are approaching the practical implementation of this key piece of legislation to protect human and animal health from the risk of BSE and other TSE's, it is necessary to make sure that all its provisions are clear and up-to-date, and maintain the highest level of protection", David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection said, commenting the proposals." I consider especially important the introduction for the first time of a systematic approach to testing of sheep for scrapie. This will give us more detailed information on this animal disease."
Today's proposals aim to update the standing text of the TSE Regulation to developments that occurred since the Council reached its Common Position on 12 February this year. The European Parliament gave its green light on this text on May 2, freeing the way for its final adoption and publication on May 29. The Regulation's provisions will be directly applicable as of July 1st, and replace the safeguard measures on BSE taken over the years by Commission Decisions.
The Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) is to further discuss and give its opinion on these proposals on Wednesday this week. In case the SVC gives a favourable opinion on the proposals, the Commission will adopt them. If the SVC does not reach a favourable opinion, the Commission will submit the proposals to the Council of Ministers next week for adoption.
MBM-BAN, WHOLE HERD SLAUGHTER AND THIRD COUNTRY PROVISIONS
Prolongation of the current suspension on the use of meat and bone meal (MBM) in animal feedingstuffs. This ban will be kept under review in the light of the future decision on the risk classification of the country or countries concerned and of progress in the implementation of strict and effective controls.
Use of Rapid TSE - Test