STC Number - 47

Measure on establishments operating in the animal feed sector

Maintained by: European Union
Raised by: United States of America
Supported by: Argentina
First date raised: June 1998 G/SPS/R/11 paras. 50-54
Dates subsequently raised: September 1998 (G/SPS/R/12 paras. 35-36)
July 2001 (G/SPS/R/25 para. 127)
Number of times subsequently raised: 2
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/EEC/58; G/SPS/GEN/88; G/SPS/GEN/265
Products covered: 23 Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal fodder; 2302 Bran, sharps and other residues, whether or not in the form of pellets, derived from the sifting, milling or other working of cereals or of leguminous plants.; 2303 Residues of starch manufacture and similar residues, beet-pulp, bagasse and other waste of sugar manufacture, brewing or distilling dregs and waste, whether or not in the form of pellets.; 2308 Vegetable materials and vegetable waste, vegetable residues and by-products, whether or not in the form of pellets, of a kind used in animal feeding, not elsewhere specified or included.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Animal health; Food safety; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In June 1998, the representative of the United States raised concerns with regard to Council Directive No. 95/69/EEC, which set conditions and arrangements for approving and registering establishments and intermediaries operating in the animal feed sector. The United States sought clarification on: (a) the justification for requiring a list of establishments in addition to the maintenance of a list of third countries, especially if the country already fulfilled the requirements of the Directive; (b) the specific products covered by this proposal, e.g. was petfood included; (c) the specific criteria used for the inclusion of a country in the third-country list, as the requirements appeared to refer to the determination of equivalence; (d) the legislative and administrative procedures envisaged to modify the lists established under the Directive; (e) the requirement in Chapter 6 that imports could only come from third countries which had representatives "established within the Community" and the justification for that requirement in terms of the scientific risks involved; and (f) an update of the status of implementation of this Directive.

The EC representative stated that the European Communities were in the process of putting in place all the legislative framework for the establishment of the single market in regard to animal, plant and consumer health. It was the common practice to apply harmonized standards to all establishments supplying foodstuffs so that products could circulate freely within the Community. Provisions were also harmonized with regard to third countries. The standard EC framework consisted of a list of countries considered eligible to export products to the Community and an evaluation, the general criteria of which were the same as those applied in areas of public health and veterinary matters, as stipulated in the Directive. These criteria were the country's legislation in the area of feedingstuffs and in particular the rules relating to manufacturing and distribution of products; substances intended to be used in nutrition; control rules; the structure and organization of the competent authority; guarantees provided by the organization in the implementation of adequate controls; and guarantees provided by the country with regard to the compliance with standards at least equivalent to those laid down in the Annex to Directive No. 95/69.

The risks addressed by this framework were microbiological and those arising from the presence of extraneous matters, contaminants and chemical residues, transmitted through feedingstuffs to the animals or to consumers. An essential element of the measure was to be able to identify such risks as close as possible to the first source of contamination. For that purpose the legislation of third countries was supplemented by: (a) the proper registration of individual establishments; (b) an assessment of the ability of the establishment to fulfil the requirements at least on an equivalent basis to those that were applicable in the Community; and (c) a certificate, a standard practice in international trade. Regarding the scope of the Directive, it did not include petfood but only compound feedingstuffs, additives and other products entering in the production of feedingstuffs for farm animals.

The measure was to be adopted by vote in the Standing Committee of Animal Feedingstuffs by the end of June 1998. By the end of 1998, EC member States must provide the Commission with a list of establishments considered eligible. As the competent authority of the exporting country carried out continuous screening of such establishments to ensure their compliance, establishment could be added or removed from the list. Inspection of such establishments was foreseen by the EC Commission, subject to the resources available, focusing primarily on the ability of the competent authority to ensure compliance. The registration requirements were flexible and not very onerous, contrary to views expressed by US industry.

The representative of Argentina requested a written copy of the statement made by the EC representative.

In September 1998, the representative of the United States reverted to an issue related to the EC notification concerning conditions and arrangements for approving and registering establishments and intermediaries operating in the animal feed sector (G/SPS/N/EEC/58) and requested further clarification on the transitional rules. The United States was encouraged by the European Communities' willingness to continue to consult on this draft directive with the objective of implementing it in a way that led to safeguarding public and animal health while minimizing disruptions to trade.

The EC representative reminded the Committee that this directive was an instrument for harmonization of the conditions and modalities for import into the European Communities. It dealt with lists of additives for mixtures and compound feedstuffs containing raw materials referred to in Directive 74/63EC, such as lead and cadmium. The system was similar to the regime already in place in the veterinary field, but was more flexible in that on-the-spot inspections in third countries were optional. The EC representative assured the United States that prompt answers would be provided to all questions raised.

In July 2001, the United States reported that it did not require or support registration of animal feed establishments and considered the issue to still be unresolved (G/SPS/GEN/265).