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Written Answers - Food Safety Standards

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 755 No. 1

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 199.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  the countries from which beef, lamb, poultry or pigmeat and associated products are imported to this country or the EU; the extent of the regulations in respect of husbandry production or hygiene and traceability applicable in such countries; the extent to which this conforms to EU standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7462/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney For their import from non-EU countries foods products of animal origin are required to meet the relevant requirements of EU food law that are operated in third countries or regions of third countries or the conditions recognised by the EU to be at least equivalent. Accordingly the EU publishes listings of the countries and regions of countries it has approved for this purpose as well as their approved export food business establishments.

The EU’s Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) carries out an assessment of third countries wishing to export these products to EU and submits for Commission approval those where the [197]responsible authorities can provide appropriate guarantees as regards compliance or equivalence with Community feed and food law and animal health rules. Third countries and their establishments that are approved to export are audited and inspected by the FVO with regard to these guarantees and reports of the findings of inspections are published on its website.

Where there are concerns with regard to the effectiveness of controls being operated in an approved third country the Commission, in consultation with the Standing Committee on Animal Health and the Food Chain, may introduce specific or additional import control by means of a safeguard measure to ensure the protection of human and animal health. Safeguard measures limiting or banning the export of animal products from third countries or regions of countries may be implemented where, for example, the conditions of an animal disease outbreak could seriously effect production and trade in animal products in the EU or where there is risk to human health. These measures continue until the risk has been removed. Examples of this are the restrictions permitting only treated poultry meat products from certain Asian countries because of high pathogenic Asian Influenza risks.

Importers of products of animal origin from third countries are required to give prior notification of import to an EU approved Border Inspection Post. Veterinary checks comprising documentary, identity (traceability) and physical checks according to EU requirements are applied at the (BIPs) to confirm the products, their origin and health certification comply with the requirements for their entry on to the EU market. The FVO monitors the application of controls in third countries and at the BIPs. Products not complying with import conditions may be seized for return to the country of origin or for their destruction.

Countries and their regions currently approved for export of beef (BOV), lamb (OVI) and pig meat (POR) are those countries listed in Annex II to Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010 (as last amended by Regulation (EU) No 1112/2011) where competent authorities of the approved third country/region have undertaken to provide export health certification according to the model required by the EU. In each case this is denoted by a three letter reference for the particular meat product that country/region has been approved for; as well as specific conditions that may apply for import of products from that country/region; and, where relevant, production dates from when export of the product may be undertaken. For poultry meat (POU) a similar listing is provided in Annex I to Commission Regulation (EU) No. 798/2008 as last amended by Regulation (EU) No 1132/2011. I have arranged to have the approved country listings referred to above forwarded under separate cover.

The following link is to the EU Commission’s website with information on the current listings of countries/regions and establishments: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biosafety/establishments/ third_country/index_en.htm

Question No. 200 answered with Question No. 39.


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