Fees for meat inspection

7 September 2012
Vicky Ford (ECR)

Under Regulation (EC) No 882/2004, abattoirs in the European Union should be charged a minimum price for the provision of meat inspectors. There have been suggestions that some Member States may be either simply not charging these amounts or charging the fee but not collecting due payments.

Article 65 of the same regulation calls for a report to address the issue of collection of inspection fees. The external evaluation necessary for this report (published in 2009) found that 3 Member States did not collect all mandatory inspection fees.

— What action has the Commission taken on the report’s findings regarding the collection of inspection fees?
— What recent evidence does the Commission have that such charges are being uniformly levied across the European Union, particularly with regard to slaughter inspection?
— Does the Commission have evidence as to whether such charges, if levied, are actually being collected by Member States from abattoirs?

28 September 2012
Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission

The report to which the Honourable Member refers has been followed by a comprehensive review of the relevant provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004(1) (Articles 26 to 29), the outcome of which is being fed into a broader exercise aimed at reforming the general framework set up by that regulation for the organisation and financing of official controls along the food chain. Such proposal, to be adopted by the Commission in the coming months, will be part of a legislative package which will also aim at reviewing the Union’s animal and plant health rules and the rules on plant reproductive materials.

Studies and evidence available on the application of existing rules on fees show that there is no uniformity in the amounts charged by the Member States’ competent authorities to compensate for the costs of slaughter inspection and that fees vary across Member States and in some cases within Member States. Importantly, also uneven is the extent to which fees charged on operators enable the competent authorities to recover their costs.

The Commission has no evidence or indication to suggest that fees due by abattoirs are not collected.

(1) OJ L 191, 28.5.2004, p. 1.


Method of poultry meat inspection

12 July 2012
Christine De Veyrac (PPE)

On 29 June 2012 the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) published a scientific opinion on the inspection of poultry meat in the European Union.

This opinion states that traditional systems for inspecting meat and poultry may not suffice to properly address major biological risks to public heath (particularly the bacteria Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella spp.).

EFSA confirms that ‘current inspection methods do not enable the detection of these hazards’ and that they ‘do not differentiate food safety concerns from considerations related to meat quality, prevention of animal diseases or occupational hazards’.

It is crucial for meat to be inspected so as to detect and warn against hazards caused by the presence of pathogens or chemical contamination in foodstuffs of animal origin and thereby to provide effective protection to the European public and ensure animal health and well-being.

EFSA’s opinion provides a ‘scientific basis for the modernisation of poultry meat inspection’. It also proposes that ‘risk-based interventions’ coupled with the improved use of information shared between farms and abattoirs be carried out.

Could the Commission say whether, in the light of this scientific opinion, it intends to implement the reform to the poultry meat inspection system that EFSA recommends?

29 August 2012
Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission

At present the Commission is studying EFSA’s proposals for the review of poultry meat inspection and intends to present legislative proposals for possible amendments in the first trimester of 2013.


Animal transports from the UK

18 June 2012
Peter Skinner (S&D)

Can the Commission confirm that under Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 a country should ensure that if an animal is not fit for travel, it should be unloaded, watered, fed and rested (Article 21(3)), and that this should be done at a suitable assembly centre that is approved by the competent authority?

I would also like to ask if the United Kingdom is transgressing this provision, as it does not have a suitable lairage in the region of the port of Ramsgate, through which currently all transportation of animals takes place. This means that any animal that is not fit for travel through Ramsgate has to travel an additional distance to a suitable assembly point, which could be several hours away.

3 August 2012
Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission

Article 21 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005(1) on the protection of animals during transport concerns checks at exit points and border inspection posts. Point 3 of this Article states that ‘Where the competent authority considers that animals are not fit to complete their journey, they shall be unloaded, watered, fed and rested’. There is no obligation under the regulation that this must take place at an assembly centre.

The port of Ramsgate is not listed as an exit point or border inspection post under EU legislation, but is used only for shipping animals to other EU Member States. The rules of Article 21 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 therefore do not apply to this port.

(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations; OJ L 3, 5.1.2005, p. 1.