Food Law News - EU - 2007

FSA Consultation Letter, 2 October 2007

HYGIENE - Draft Food Hygiene (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2008

A copy of the consultation document is available on this site: EU/England Hygiene Proposals

Amendments to the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/14) are needed to apply new Commission implementing and transitional legislation on food hygiene (still currently in draft) and to provide for certain national measures in relation to minced meat, certain fresh meat and game meat. Responses are requested by: 4 January 2008

Consultation details

The key proposals are:

Commission Regulations

The Commission adopted, at the meeting of the EU Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCOFCAH) on 18 July 2007, five Commission Regulations which amend certain aspects of the EU food hygiene regulations and their implementing and transitional measures. (See EU News item: 9 August 2007).

The new Commission regulations are now subject to consultation with the European Parliament. This process is likely to be completed and the measures published in the Official Journal in November 2007. They will enter into force on the seventh day following publication and apply from that same date. Annexe A in the accompanying document gives a brief description of the measures which are included as appendices to that Annexe.

The Commission regulations will apply directly. It will however be necessary to provide for them being enforced as part of the other EU food hygiene regulations. This will be achieved by amending within the national legislation the list of definitions of Community legislation to include appropriate references to these latest measures. A draft of amending regulations is included in the accompanying document.

In order to provide for a full period of public consultation, we are consulting now on the basis of the latest drafts of the Commission regulations. The final titles and references will be adjusted once the texts have been published in the Official Journal.

National measures

The draft Food Hygiene (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 also propose a number of national measures in relation to minced meat, certain fresh meat and game meat production. These will apply in England only. Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland will make similar legislation. The basis in Community law for the national measures set out below is as follows:

Minced meat production

The proposal is to disapply the criteria in paragraph 2(b), Chapter III, Section V, Annex III of Regulation (EC) 853/2004 regarding the number of days between slaughtering and mincing of chilled meat. More detail of the proposal and what it hopes to achieve is in Appendix 1 to this letter. The purpose of this is to enable the continuation of the English tradition of ageing meat that is used to produce minced meat. You will want to note that, as explained in the acompanying document, this proposal is subject to clearance by the European Commission whose approval will be needed to proceed with this measure.

Certain fresh meat production

It is proposed that certain slaughterhouses, formerly classified as low throughput, should be exempt from the requirements to have facilities for detained meat and facilities for cleansing and disinfection of livestock vehicles.

In addition, the format of a special health and identification mark to be used on the carcasses of animals subject to emergency slaughter outside a slaughterhouse and on the meat derived from such carcasses is prescribed. Appendix 2 gives more details on these proposals.

Game meat production

It is proposed to establish a pilot project at certain low throughput game handling establishments to determine the value of the post mortem inspection carried out by an official veterinarian over and above operators' HACCP-based controls. It is necessary to provide for a legislative framework within which this can happen. Appendix 3 gives more details.

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