Food Law News - EU - 2008

Midday Express, 31 January 2008

COURT OF JUSTICE - Commission refers Greece to the ECJ over violations of the animal by-products legislation

The European Commission has decided to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over violations of the animal by-products (ABPs) legislation. Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 provides stringent conditions throughout the food and feed chains governing the safe collection, transport, storage, handling, processing, use and disposal of animal by-products. Animal by-products (ABPs) are parts of a slaughtered animal that are not directly consumed by humans. The use of certain ABPs in animal feed can spread BSE and other animal diseases or spread chemical contaminants such as dioxins. ABPs can also pose a considerable threat to animal and human health via the environment, if not properly disposed of.

To address these health risks, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Greece on 4 April 2006 for not properly addressing lack of effective supervision and official controls as well as deficiencies in the safe handling of ABPs. Moreover, a mission of the Food and Veterinary Office to Greece in 2005 revealed additional violations, which have been the subject matter of a parallel proceeding. In particular, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion on 12 October 2006 and a complementary reasoned opinion on 18 July 2007 to Greece for its failure to ensure that the establishments treating ABPs are approved in accordance with requirements of the Regulation as well as to address the deficient incineration of "specified risk material."

The Commission deems that no appropriate measures have been taken to date to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Regulation. The referral of the infringement case before the Court of Justice may lead to declare that a Member State has failed to fulfil an obligation under the EC Treaty and, at a later stage, if the infringement persists, to condemn the Member State concerned to pay a lump sum and/or penalty payment.

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