STC Number - 33

Salmonella-related restriction on fishmeal imports

Maintained by: European Union
Raised by: Chile; Peru
Supported by:
First date raised: October 1997 G/SPS/R/9/Rev.1 (EN), paras. 48-50; G/SPS/R/9 (FR, ES), paras. 48-50
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally; RD/SPS/114
Products covered: 0511 Animal products not elsewhere specified or included; dead animals of Chapter 1 or 3, unfit for human consumption.
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Food safety; Human health; Zoonoses
Status: Partially resolved
Solution: In October 2013, information was received from Chile on the partial resolution of this STC (RD/SPS/114, of 29 October 2020).
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 1997, Chile and Peru sought some clarifications regarding the EC directive governing the exports of fishmeal to the European Communities, which enforced strict controls over salmonella. The fact that it was only applied to fishmeal was found to be discriminatory since similar rules were not applied to substitutes to fishmeal nor competing products that could be potentially contaminated with salmonella, as had been confirmed by recent research carried out in the United Kingdom.

The EC delegation, in a preliminary response, indicated that the EC directive was justified on the basis of the available scientific information on animal feeds, whether bone-meal or fish-meal. For competing types of feeding stuffs, for example those of vegetable origin, working groups within the EC had been considering whether to introduce similar provisions. The conclusion reached by several EC Member states was that there were not sufficient grounds for introducing such a requirement in terms of microbiological criteria. Some other EC Member states, however, had introduced national requirements stipulating that heat treatment must be undertaken to get rid of salmonella and other risks. According to the EC delegate, there was no element of discrimination since fish-meal was recognized as a more risky type of product.

Another issue raised by Chile concerned the unilateral imposition of import prohibitions by France and Italy affecting fishmeal for feeding ruminants, including in mixtures with bonemeal, under the alleged objective of preventing risk arising from contamination. The EC delegation indicated that it needed to effectively enforce the mammalian protein feed ban to ruminants. With the present methods, the European Community was facing practical difficulties in trying to segregate the origins of the various mammalian raw materials, including fish. There were no EC requirements in this respect. The EC delegate indicated that this issue would be examined more closely, together with the two Member states involved.

In October 2013, the Secretariat informed that in September 2013 it had contacted all Members who had raised specific trade concerns (STCs) that had not been discussed in the previous year, to request an update on their status. In furtherance of this request, information was received from Chile on the partial resolution of this STC. In November 2020, the Secretariat indicated that the information received had been circulated in document RD/SPS/114, of 29 October 2020, and that the SPS IMS would be updated on this basis, using the date of the October 2013 SPS Committee meeting as the date of resolution of the relevant STCs.