The European Scrutiny Committee has agreed to the
Draft Council Regulation on the hygiene of foodstuffs.
Draft Council Regulation laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin.
Draft Council Regulation laying down detailed rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.
Draft Council Regulation laying down the animal health rules governing the production, placing on the market and importation of products of animal origin intended for human consumption.
Draft Council Directive repealing certain Directives on the hygiene of foodstuffs and the health conditions for the production and placing on the market of certain products of animal origin intended for human consumption, and amending Directives 89/662/EEC and 91/67/EEC.
|Legal base:||(a) Articles 95 and 152(4)(b) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting|
(b) and (c) Article 152(4)(b) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
(d) Article 37 EC; consultation; qualified majority voting
(e) Articles 37, 95 and 152(4)(b) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
|Department:||(a)-(c) and (e) Food Standards Agency|
(d) Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
|Basis of consideration:
||SEM of 26 March 2002|
|Previous Committee Report:
||HC 28-iii (2001-02), paragraph 1 (17 January 2001)
|To be discussed in Council:
||Following receipt of European Parliament opinion
|Committee's assessment:||Legally and politically important
|Committee's decision:||For debate in European Standing Committee C (decision reported on 17 January 2001 and confirmed on 18 July 2001)
1.1 According to the Commission, there are at present
17 Directives dealing in one way or another with food hygiene,
which have gradually developed since 1964 in response to the needs
of the internal market, but which take into account also the need
for a high level of consumer protection. The Commission considered
this multiplicity of measures, the inclusion of provisions covering
not only hygiene but also animal health and official controls
and the existence of different hygiene regimes for products of
animal origin and other products to be outdated and over-prescriptive,
and to have resulted in considerable duplication and confusion.
Consequently, it proposed in July 2000 to recast the existing
requirements, and, in the process, to separate aspects of food
hygiene from animal health and control issues.
1.2 More specifically, the Commission proposed that the
existing Directives should be repealed and replaced by four new
Regulations, dealing separately with food hygiene, animal health
and control issues, as follows:
1 on the hygiene of all foodstuffs;
2 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin;
3 laying down detailed rules for the organisation of official
control on products of animal origin intended for human consumption;
4 laying down the animal health rules governing the production,
placing on the market and importation of products of animal origin
intended for human consumption.
The Commission subsequently
withdrew (c), dealing with official controls on products of animal
origin, on the grounds that new scientific evidence had become
available requiring a fundamental revision of this part of the
1.3 The detailed changes proposed as regards the rest
of the proposal, and their implications, were set out at some
length in our predecessors' Report of 17 January 2001, which resulted
in their recommending the document for debate. That Report highlighted
three significant features in the main element of the proposal
((a) above) on the hygiene of all foodstuffs:
- First, the transfer of the principal responsibility away from
enforcement authorities and on to food businesses by requiring
these (other than primary producers) to operate a fully-documented
food safety management system, based on HACCP
principles, and involving the systematic assessment of all procedures
involved in a food operation, and the identification of those
points critical to product safety.
- Secondly, ensuring good hygiene practice throughout the food
chain, starting with primary production, in order to provide a
"farm to fork" approach.
- Thirdly, improved traceability by requiring the registration
of food businesses.
1.4 Our predecessors also noted that the Government had
provided a draft initial Regulatory Impact Assessment, which was
to be updated following consultation with interested parties.
The draft Assessment pointed out that studies had suggested that
up to 4.5 million people a year may suffer from food-borne disease,
with up to 750,000 of these having to consult their doctor. Deaths
from food poisoning each year are put at around 50-60, and the
annual cost to the National Health Service and business at up
to £350 million a year. It suggested that consumers would
benefit from safer food as a result of enhanced hygiene controls,
whilst food producers and retailers would gain from the removal
of outdated and unnecessary controls, their replacement by a single,
systematic approach to all aspects of food safety, and the focusing
of technical resources onto critical parts of the production process.
However, it also suggested that there would be non-recurring costs
associated with the introduction of HACCP systems, though these
would vary greatly according to the extent to which those systems
are already in place. In this respect, smaller food businesses
were likely to be hardest hit, though the effect could be mitigated
by the provision enabling Member States to seek derogations for
them. The Assessment also pointed out that, where the proposals
on registration exceeded existing UK requirements, there could
be significant administrative costs.
Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum of 26 March 2002
1.5 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the
Department of Health (Yvette Cooper) has provided with her Supplementary
Explanatory Memorandum of 26 March 2002 the updated Regulatory
Impact Assessment promised earlier, though, in the main, this
amplifies, rather than amends to any major extent, the information
in the preceding paragraph. The most significant points in the
revised Assessment are:
- that, for the vast majority of businesses affected by the
proposals, the application of HACCP principles is not a new requirement,
since existing legislation already requires its main elements
to be applied as a key means of reducing food-borne diseases;
- that the main change arises from the need for the businesses
in question to provide documentary evidence that the procedures
in place actually work (though the Assessment also suggests that
some of the prescriptive detail required at present will be removed,
thereby reducing the overall compliance burden for some sectors,
for example slaughterhouses);
- that, whilst not subject to a full documented HACCP-based
procedure, primary producers will be required to monitor possible
hazards to food safety, and to prevent, eliminate or reduce these
to an acceptable level;
- that, for most sectors, registration will also not be a new
- that any increased compliance costs which did arise would
neither deter new entrants nor bring about the closure of existing
- that food-borne disease is largely preventable, and, although
it is not possible to quantify the overall impact of the new system,
it is expected to lead to a reduction in the risk equivalent to
about £3 million a year;
- that the costs and benefits of enforcement are likely to be
closely balanced, with any initial training needs being offset
by medium to longer-term improvements in effectiveness.
1.6 The Minister says that the Assessment will be amended
in the light of the results of ongoing consultations, although
major changes are not expected. Further work is, however, being
undertaken by the Food Standards Agency.
1.7 Since the debate we have recommended on this document
is to take place in European Standing Committee C on 24 April
2002, we are simply drawing this updated Assessment to the attention
of the House.
(23102) 15475/01; see HC 152-xx (2001-02), paragraph 2 (6 March
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. Back