STC Number - 442

EU Commission Decision 2002/994/EC on animal products

Maintained by: European Union
Raised by: China
Supported by:
First date raised: July 2018 G/SPS/R/92/Rev.1, paras. 4.9-4.10
Dates subsequently raised: November 2018 (G/SPS/R/93, paras. 3.52-3.53)
March 2019 (G/SPS/R/94, paras.3.82-3.83)
March 2019 (G/SPS/R/94/Corr.1, para. 3.82)
July 2019 (G/SPS/R/95, paras. 4.81-4.82)
Number of times subsequently raised: 4
Relevant documents: Raised orally; G/SPS/R/94/Corr.1, para. 3.82
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Food safety; Human health; Risk assessment
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In July 2018, China raised a concern over EU Commission Decision 2002/994/EC, explaining that each consignment of aquaculture fish, shrimp, crayfish, rabbit meat, poultry meat products, eggs and eggs products, bee products and casings from China had to be tested by Chinese competent authorities for chloramphenicol and nitrofurans before being exported to the EU market. In addition, China explained that testing and certificates for malachite green and crystal violet were also required by the European Union for imports of aquaculture products. China informed the Committee that a formal letter had been sent to the EU delegation on 14 October 2016, requesting the withdrawal of these requirements. Likewise, China had also provided a report on the quality of products of animal origin, including poultry meat and casings, exported from China to the European Union. However, China regretted that no comments on the submitted document had been received. China conducted strict inspections on around 40,000 batches of the products mentioned. In 2017, only one batch of products had been positive to one residue, and since 2010, the maximum number of relevant Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) notifications per year had been eight, which represented 0.02% of the total number of all exported batches. China urged the European Union to amend Decision 2002/994/EC and to withdraw the unreasonable restrictions.

The European Union recalled that the measures contained in Decision 2002/994/EC had been introduced due to the detection of forbidden substances in animal products from China. The European Union clarified that the exports of the products were still allowed, with additional requirements, for safety reasons. The measure had been implemented as an instrument to protect EU consumers. Since 2002, it had been repeatedly reviewed on the basis of Chinese requests and the progress made in residue controls, leading to a reduction in the number of products to which the measure applied. The European Union argued that the repeated amendments were the expression of the EU commitment to adapt the measure based on information and guarantees provided by China; and considered data on RASFF notifications an important element in the risk assessment. This issue had also been discussed in a recent meeting between the EU Agriculture Commissioner and the Minister of General Administration of Customs of China. The European Union expressed its willingness to adapt the measure at the request of the Chinese authorities and supported by related information on control inspections.

In November 2018, China reiterated its concern over EU Commission Decision 2002/994/EC, highlighting that each consignment of poultry meat, casings, aquaculture fishery products and crayfish from China had to be tested for chloramphenicol, nitrofuran, malachite green, crystal violet and their metabolites before being exported to the EU market. China explained that in accordance with the "farm to table" concept it implemented strict inspection and quarantine procedures for animal products exported to the European Union. Moreover, the European Union had recognized China's food safety and residue regulatory systems, conducting several on-site reviews over the past years. On this basis, China urged the European Union to consider removing additional testing requirements on the above-mentioned substances, to reduce unnecessary costs and facilitate trade.

The European Union recalled that the measures contained in Decision 2002/994/EC had been introduced due to the detection of forbidden substances in products of animal origin. The European Union noted that exports were still allowed, with additional requirements for safety reasons. Since 2002, the measure had been repeatedly reviewed on the basis of information and guarantees provided by China, demonstrating progress made in residue controls. Finally, the European Union announced that the issue would be further discussed during the visit of the EU Agriculture Commissioner to China in November.

In March 2019, China reiterated its concerns over EU Commission Decisions 2002/994/EC, 2004/621/EC and 2008/463/EC, which required that each consignment of poultry meat, casings, aquaculture fishery products and crayfish be tested for chloramphenicol, nitrofuran, malachite green, crystal violet and their metabolites before being exported from China to the EU market. China stated that it had been implementing strict inspection and quarantine procedures for animal products exported to the EU market for more than 17 years, and that the European Union had recognized China's food safety and residue regulatory systems when revising Directive 2002/994/EC. China further explained that the European Union had committed to expediting the cancellation of the additional certificate for the food of animal origin exported from China to Europe. In this context, an EU report on China's food safety and residue regulatory systems had been submitted to the EU member States for comments, and China had provided feedback to the European Union in January 2019. China urged the European Union to apply the principle of equivalence and remove additional testing requirements for the products at issue.

The European Union referred to previous statements explaining the reasons for the measures and provided an update. The European Union was currently examining the response of the Chinese authorities to the audit carried out in 2018, and it would be discussed on a bilateral basis. The European Union was pleased with the progress achieved and looked forward to a prompt resolution of the concern.

In July 2019, China had requested in September 2016 that the European Union lift its requirements for test results and certificates for every batch of animal products exported from China, following the improvements of its food safety supervision system. China recalled that the European Union had agreed to expedite lifting the drug residue certificate for food of animal origin in November 2018, which China looked forward to.

The European Union responded that it was assessing the responses provided by China to the recommendations of the audit on residues of veterinary drugs carried out by the European Union in 2018, as well as the assurances made concerning the 2019 residue plan, received on 24 June 2019. The European Union acknowledged the progress made and the ongoing bilateral dialogue.