STC Number - 32

Gelatin imports

Maintained by: European Union
Raised by: Brazil; United States of America
Supported by: Argentina; Australia; Chile; Mexico; Thailand; United States of America
First date raised: October 1997 G/SPS/R/9/Rev.1, paras. 8-9
Dates subsequently raised: March 1998 (G/SPS/R/10, para. 16)
September 1998 (G/SPS/R/12, paras. 22-23)
November 1998 (G/SPS/R/13, para. 19)
July 1999 (G/SPS/R/15, paras. 9-11)
November 1999 (G/SPS/R/17, paras. 6-7)
March 2000 (G/SPS/R/18, paras. 21-22)
March 2001 (G/SPS/R/21, paras. 95-96)
July 2001 (G/SPS/R/22, paras. 52-53)
October 2001 (G/SPS/R/25, para. 34)
Number of times subsequently raised: 9
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GEN/133, G/SPS/N/EEC/74
Products covered: 15 Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Equivalence; Food safety; Human health; Risk assessment; Zoonoses
Status: Partially resolved
Solution: In October 2001, Brazil reported that the European Communities had lifted its restrictions in June 2001. US concern ongoing.
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 1997, Brazil indicated that its gelatin exports had been negatively affected by French requirements for specific production methods, which in Brazil's view lacked scientific justification. Where BSE had been diagnosed, raw materials for gelatin were considered low risk products. In addition, there had never been a case of BSE in Brazil. The European Communities responded that the French decision had been taken in the expectation of EC provisions which would introduce conditions related to microbiological and chemical criteria, and minimum requirements related to BSE. The OIE Code required certain provisions which in the EC view Brazil did not fulfill, and Brazil had not presented an application to the European Communities to request recognition of its TSE-free status.
Brazil reiterated its concerns in March 1998, and indicated that an EC questionnaire on animal feeding in Brazil would soon be officially provided to the EC authorities. In September 1998, Brazil reported that despite numerous bilateral talks, no progress had been made. The European Communities noted that the origin of the problem was that Brazil considered itself as BSE-free, while in the EC view no country could be designated as BSE-free. Both countries agreed that there had been some misunderstandings and were willing to resolve them through further contacts. In November 1998, Brazil welcomed a new French decision which took into account some of the Brazilian comments, and urged France to implement these new requirements as soon as possible.
In July 1999, Brazil acknowledged the EC notification on the matter, but remained concerned as its gelatin exports were still interrupted. The proposed EC legislation, which was not based on a risk assessment, would severely impact the ability of non-European countries to supply gelatin to the EC market. Brazil asked that the European Communities accept other countries' measures as equivalent. The European Communities explained its new measure, and invited all Members to comment in writing. In November 1999, both Members reported that they had decided to pursue the matter bilaterally. In March 2000, Brazil and the European Communities made a joint communication announcing that constructive consultations had taken place, and that the European Communities would evaluate the relevant documentation provided by Brazil.
In March 2001, the United States indicated that since May 2000, EC and US authorities had been discussing the continuation of US gelatin shipments based on the equivalence of US and EC safety systems. Despite continuing efforts of US regulatory authorities and industry, the European Communities had not agreed to accept equivalence based on export certificates issued by US authorities. As a result, there had been no exports of US food grade gelatin to the European Communities since June 2000. The United States appreciated EC efforts to review information, and urged the Commission to accept the equivalence of US certificates. The European Communities stated that both sides had a clear idea of the problems involved, which were primarily of a judicial nature. The European Communities was proposing flexible solutions which both parties might find acceptable.
In July 2001, the United States reported that despite ongoing efforts, US shipments of gelatin had been discontinued since June 2000 because the European Communities had not agreed to accept equivalence-based export certificates. The United States had demonstrated that US gelatin food safety systems met the EC appropriate level of protection. The European Communities clarified that US gelatin was not prohibited, but that negotiations were underway on a specific certificate for the United States. The equivalence of the US production system had been established on all but two points, where compliance with additional requirements must be certified. Since December 2000, the only pending question was that FDA, as a matter of policy, did not certify compliance with foreign rules, while the European Communities required certification by a competent authority.
In October 2001, Brazil reported that intense bilateral consultations on Brazilian processing methods and controls had resulted in the European Communities lifting its restrictions as of 13 June 2001.