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MEMO/05/398

Brussels, 25 October 2005

Questions and Answers on the Animal By-Products Report

  1. What are animal by-products?

Animal by-products (ABPs) are those animal carcasses, parts of carcasses and other products of animal origin which are not intended for human consumption. They are a regular product of the livestock and food industries and include animals which die on farm, surplus or waste material from slaughterhouses, and a range of surplus or rejected foodstuffs; include also catering waste (i.e. waste food originating from restaurants, catering facilities and kitchens) that contains products of animal origin, whether cooked or uncooked. Some of these animal by- products are used to produce processed animal proteins (meat and bone meal), fats, gelatine, collagen, pet-food and in technical products, such as glue, leathers, soaps, fertilisers etc. The alternative is their disposal, most often by incineration or co-incineration.

  1. How are animal by-products regulated on EU level?

Regulation 1774/2002 on animal by-products was just adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 3 October 2002, entered into force on November 1 2002, and became applicable on 1 May 2003. It lays down stringent conditions throughout the food and feed chain for the safe collection, transport, storage, handling, processing, use and disposal of animal by-products. The Regulation classifies animal by-products into three categories based on their potential risk to animals, the public or to the environment, and sets out how each category must or may be disposed of. It restricts the type of material that may be used for feeding animals, so that only material fit for human consumption may be used for livestock and pet feed. The Regulation also prohibits intra-species recycling (cannibalism) and the feeding of catering waste to livestock.

  1. Why has the Commission produced an Animal By-Products Report?

Under Article 35 of the Animal By-Products Regulation, the Commission is required to report to the Council and Parliament on measures taken by Member States to implement the legislation. The report was originally supposed to be produced within one year of the Regulation entering into force. However, the Commission extended the preparation time so that it could take into account the situation in the new Member States and the findings of FVO inspections in 2004-05, thereby providing a more accurate and complete picture of the level of compliance in all Member States.

  1. Why is the Commission considering changes to the animal by-products legislation?

The controls in the Regulation work well in the majority of cases. However, feedback from Member States and industry since its application highlighted a small number of areas where changes are needed. Some requirements may be disproportionate when it comes to very low risk products (e.g. processed ingredients used in cosmetics), while there is a need to insert new products under the different risk categories. In addition, there are areas where there is uncertainty about the scope, the requirements of the Regulation or possible duplication with other legislation, and clarification is needed. Therefore, the Commission is starting a review of the legislation in line with its Lisbon Strategy commitment to improve regulation and address health risks while enhancing competitiveness.

  1. Will the suggested changes affect the level of consumer safety?

No. The health of the consumer is always the chief priority and no changes will be considered which would in any way compromise this. Removing disproportionate provisions and clarifying the scope of the Regulation would lead to a clearer text, making the measures more effective and efficient.

  1. What are the next steps proposed?

The report will be forwarded to the Council and Parliament towards the end of October. In addition, the Commission will begin to gather feedback on the report from interested parties, will conduct an impact assessment, and will discuss the proposed changes with technical experts. By the end of 2006/ early 2007, the Commission intends to submit a number of proposals for amendments to the Regulation to Council and Parliament. Actions still to be taken by the Commission under the Comitology procedure are also outlined in the report, and the Commission will also follow up on these over the next year.

  1. .More information

For more information on EU legislation on animal by-products, please refer to the following website:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biosafety/animalbyproducts/index_en.htm


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