Setting the course - up at the EU level

by Editor
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The European butchery sector is currently pursuing a number of different political aims in Brussels: nutritional profiles, animal by-products and the overhaul of the Slaughter Directive.

The report of the IBC General Secretary Martin Fuchs showed how important it is to set the course for the industry as a whole at the EU legislative level. With regard to labelling, the International Butchers' Confederation has already been in contact with the EU Commission. Its opinions and justifications have already been noted in the consultations. In the future, too, the Confederation is intending to introduce further proposals for change via its Brussels office.

With regard to the disposal of animal by-products, the IBC has proposed treating products which result from food production in the same way as kitchen waste and food leftovers. The risk arising from this material is comparatively low. Brussels is expecting to read the draft report from the MEP Dr. Horst Schnellhardt in January 2009.

With regard to BSE legislation, the IBC is still fighting for the release of beef cattle intestines, with the exception of the ileum. No scientific report has been presented on this subject, complained Kirsten Diessner. The Head of the Brussels IBC office, however, reported that the work of a group of European scientists and the European Natural Sausage Casing Association (ENSCA) has given cause for hope. According to these, bovine intestines represent no risk for consumers.

Christophe Didion from the EU Commission gave a statement on the progress in specifying nutritional profiles. "We now appreciate the problems involved," he conceded. The butchery industry had previously criticised the fact that only one combined category is planned for meat and processed meat products, in contrast to milk and milk products, for instance. It should still be possible to make advertising claims regarding meat, said Didion.

Denis Simonin explained the European efforts to overhaul the Slaughter Directive. The operators of slaughter facilities will be responsible for the well-being of the animals in the future. Animal protection must be firmly integrated in the processes, and this must be documented accordingly. Despite the flexibility which was planned in the draft, the representative of the directorate-general, Sanco, left the butchery sector with little hope for exceptions: "Businesses which don't know what they are doing, and can't provide documentation, will not be licensed."