Amendments to change range of EU hygiene regulations

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union European parliament

A package of amendments to the EU's food hygiene regulations sets
out the changes meat, fish and dairy processors will have to follow
in their plants.

On 1 January a package of five regulations on food hygiene came into force across the EU. Thepackage, which replaced 14 different directives, sets down clearer and more harmonised rules on thehygiene of foodstuffs, specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin, and specific rules forcontrols on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.

In July the European Commission adopted amendments to certain aspects of hygiene laws, and their transitional measures.The details of the amendments are being worked on by the European Commission, but nationalregulators are preparing for their implementation later this year. This month the UK's FoodStandards Agency (FSA) launched a public consultation to determine how they would affect its foodprocessing sector.

According to the FSA consultation documents, the amendments clarifies the requirement for further identification marking where wrapping or packaging of animal products is removed.They also make minor amendments to fresh meat requirements and the rules for collagen used in extrusion processes.

Another amendment clarifies the position of fish oil within the hygiene legislation and the requirement forprior EU and national approval of suppliers.

An amendment extends the requirements for dairy products to include colostrum and colostrum-based products.Another makes changes to the official control requirements for fresh meat and dairy products as a consequence of the changesto include colostrum and colostrum-based products.

A minor change to the requirements concerning the language in which import certification has to be provided,is also part of the amendments.

An additional rule establishes analytical methods to check compliance with plate count and somatic cell count requirements for rawand pasteurised milk and dairy products.

An amendment would replaces the requirement for paralytic shellfish poisoning detection methods to include a reference to the Lawrence method.

The Commission also wants to amend the model health certificate requirement for specific products of animal origin including honey.Rules on official controls for Trichinella in meat have been amended.

An amendment relating to fish oil allows importers to use approved non-EU suppliers until 31 October 2007. Current documentaryrequirements apply until 1 May 2007.

Another amendment allows the import of fishery products and live bivalve molluscs from approved countries under certain conditions.The Commission has also set out the continued use of the 90 per cent limit for E. coli for the classification of Class B production and laying areas for live bivalve molluscs.

The new Commission regulations are now subject to consultation with the European Parliament. TheFSA expects the new measures to be published in the bloc's Official Journal in November 2006. They enter into force on the seventh day following publication.

The FSA consultation ends 11 December 2006.

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