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Brussels, 20 November 2002

Green light for the import of more products of animal origin from China

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) voted in favour of a European Commission proposal to allow the resumption of imports of certain fishery products (crayfish and surimi), subject to testing. The import of some other fish products, gelatine and sausage casings was already authorised by earlier decisions. The proposal will now be formally adopted by the Commission and will enter into force shortly.

Following the detection of the antibiotic chloramphenicol in certain aquaculture and fishery products imported from China, and shortcomings identified during a Commission inspection visit to China, imports of products of animal origin from China were suspended in March this year (IP/02/143). The decision is regularly reviewed in the light of further information and guarantees provided by the Chinese authorities.

The Chinese authorities have adopted a range of measures aimed at correcting the identified weaknesses. In June (IP/02/693), in the light of the favourable results of tests carried out and information received from the Chinese authorities, the imports of certain fish products, gelatine, and sausage casings were resumed, subject to increased monitoring and testing to ensure their safety. In September (IP/02/1351), it was decided that re-enforced testing was no longer required for certain fish productsbut it was maintained for sausage casings.

Following the information provided by the Chinese authorities as regards the control and the production conditions of crayfish of the species Procambarus clarkii and surimi obtained from the fishery species already authorised to be exported, the Commission has now proposed to allow the import of these products from China to resume. The import will be subject to intensified monitoring and 20% of consignments will be tested.

Restrictions remain in place in relation to a range of other products, notably poultry meat, rabbit meat, honey and certain fishery products. The situation in relation to these remaining restrictions will be kept under review in the light of information and guarantees provided by the competent authorities of China and on the basis of the results of the tests carried out by Member States.

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