Food Law News - EU - 2008

Council Press Release (PRES/08/118), 19 May 2008

POULTRY Council discussions: Chemical decontamination of fresh meat

The following is an extract from the minutes of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting, 19 May 2008. The text of the French note is given below.

The Council took note of the French delegation's concerns, supported by the Austrian, Belgian, Bulgarian, Cypriot, Czech, Danish, Netherlands, Estonian, Finnish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Latvian, Luxembourg, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish delegations, about the potential authorisation of the use of chemical substances in the decontamination of fresh poultry meat (9427/08).

Commissioner Vassiliou pointed out that experts from the Member States would have the opportunity to give their opinion in the framework of the Standing Committee of Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), at the time of the submission by the Commission of a proposal reflecting European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinion on the matter.

She confirmed that chemical decontamination could not be permitted to replace good hygiene practices all along the food chain.

Note from the French authorities to the Council

Request for an "Other business" item at the Agriculture Council meeting on 19 May 2008

The French authorities would like to draw the Council's and the Commission's attention to their concern regarding the plan announced at the close of the last Transatlantic Economic Council on 13 May 2008. This involves changes to EU regulations that will allow the importation of poultry meat processed using chemical decontamination ("pathogen reduction treatment"), as well as the use of such treatments in EU Member States in the production of poultry meat for consumption in the EU.

The Commission announced that before the next European Union - United States summit it would propose changes to EU regulations to authorise certain substances for the chemical decontamination of poultry meat produced in or imported into the Union .

On that occasion incorrect information was passed on with regard to the current reality of such practices in the European Union, which could have changed the perception of the dossier.

Following the exchange of views held at the last Agriculture Council meeting on 14 April, it emerged that a broad majority of Member States shared France 's concern regarding this plan. The French authorities would like the Commission to give details of the action it intends to take on this matter.

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