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  EUROPA > European Commission > Health and Consumer Protection > Consumer Voice > June 2001, Number 1

Stringent controls for the use and disposal of animal by-products

Summary: In an additional move to ensure safe animal feed and to prevent feed-borne crises such as BSE or the Dioxin crisis, a Commission proposal for stringent controls for the use and disposal of animal by-products reached political agreement in Council.

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The Agriculture Council followed through on the Swedish Presidency intention to reach a common position on the question of which animal by-products can be allowed to enter the animal feed chain on 19 June. Political agreement on the Commission's proposed Regulation means stringent requirements will be set for the safety of animal feed. Additional precautionary measures will also govern animal materials that do not enter the feed chain. The aim is to prevent the kind of feed-borne crises such as BSE and dioxin contamination that have occurred in recent years.

The proposal prohibits the recycling of dead animals and condemned material in animal feed. The only animal material allowed to be used for the production of animal feed would then be material derived from animals declared fit for human consumption following veterinary inspection. The proposal also addresses the quality of feed ingredients that can be allowed for farm animal nutrition and on the safe disposal of BSE-infected animal material. It introduces a number of alternative methods for the use or disposal of animal by-products and strengthens rules on the controls and traceability of them.

Animal by-products are divided into three categories:

  • Category 1 is the highest risk category and includes animal by-products suspected of being or infected by a TSE- and dioxin-contaminated material. This material must be destroyed;

  • Category 2 includes material presenting risks relating to animal diseases other than TSEs and could be recycled to produce biogas and fertilisers;

  • Category 3 is confined to by-products from healthy animals. Only products from this category would be allowed in the production of feed and pet food.

Categories 1 and 2 will be marked with an odorant and a dye to prevent such materials entering the food chain.

The current temporary suspension of the use of processed animal protein in animal feed, brought in following the BSE crisis, will expire on 30 June 2001. The Council has agreed to extend this ban as part of a Commission proposal updating the new Regulation on the prevention, control and eradication of TSE from 1 July.

The European Parliament also dealt decisively with this proposal when it voted by a majority of 495 votes to endorse the measures on 12 June. Amendments agreed by the MEPs strengthened rather than changed the original Commission proposals for a regulation, tightening some provisions and adding additional flexibility for special circumstances, for example feed for those animals that do not enter the food or feed chain.

Since 1994, intraspecies recycling, or cannibalism, has been prohibited for ruminants but the EP voted to extend this prohibition to other animal species. The EP also amended the proposed regulation, to include a requirement already contained in transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) regulation, establishing that specified risk material (i.e. material most at risk of carrying TSE agents) should be dyed or marked in a way that can be both seen and smelt.

The full text of the Commission proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation laying down the health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption (co-decision procedure) (COM(2000) 574-C5-0539/2000/0259(COD)) can be found on the Food Safety website