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C 93 E/56 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 18.4.


The Commission would draw the Honourable Member’s attention to the fact that the administrative
burden of project management has been made heavier by the fact that many projects have not kept to
their schedules or fulfilled their commitments. This is mainly because they were not well planned from the
beginning, so many changes and adjustments have had to be made when they were already in progress.
Many projects have not obtained the expected results, which has led to a high rate of decommitment of
allocated resources. This clearly shows that in order to reduce the risk of failure, it is important to ensure
from the outset that projects are coherent and of a very high standard.

(2002/C 93 E/071) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2077/01

by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Commission

(13 July 2001)

Subject: Listeria ‘O’ criterion

Patrick Lardeux, a small-scale farmer and cheese producer, has written an open letter to all Members of the
European Parliament, a copy of which could on request be sent to the Commission.

In his letter, Mr Lardeux describes a number of problems which confront small-scale producers in their
attempts to comply with the regulations imposed on them, and which have caused him to cease trading.

One of these problems is the imposition of what he refers to as the listeria ‘O’ criterion.

Would the Commission say what the legal basis of this criterion is? Would it provide a list of all
Community acts which impose regulations to be complied with by small-scale cheese producers?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(1 October 2001)

The Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that ‘Listeria monocytogenes’ is a
bacterium which can cause serious illness, and in some cases death, in people in certain risk categories. It
is for this reason that the provisions of Community legislation ensure the highest level of safety in relation
to this bacterium for both industrial and small-scale or farm-based cheese production.

The two Community texts which cover public health aspects for the milk and dairy sector are Council
Directive 92/46/EEC of 16 June 1992 laying down the health rules for the production and placing on the
market of raw milk, heat-treated milk and milk-based products (1) and Council Directive 93/43/EEC of
14 June 1993 on the hygiene of foodstuffs (2).

The ‘absent in 25 grams of product’ criterion, to which the Honourable Member refers when he mentions
the ‘listeria O criterion’, concerns ‘Listeria monocytogenes’ in certain dairy products, on removal from the
processing establishment. This criterion is included in the Annex to Commission Directive 92/46/EEC, the
scope of which includes production and placing on the market but excludes direct supply to the consumer.

Directive 93/43/EEC, which does not mention any microbiological criteria, completes Community rules on
small-scale or farm-based production, which is restricted to direct sales, and distribution. This text is based
on the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) system and encourages the use of guides to good
hygiene practice, developed by interested parties and validated by the relevant national authority. Article 7
of Directive 93/43/EEC stipulates that Member States may, subject to the EC Treaty, maintain, amend or
introduce national hygiene provisions that are more specific than those laid down by this Directive,
provided that such provisions are not less stringent than those given in the Annex to the Directive.
Microbiological criteria may therefore be set by Member States at the consumer supply stage. Objectives
may also be set by the operators as part of their self-monitoring procedure.
18.4.2002 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 93 E/57

The Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health stated in its opinion of
23 September 1999 that, according to the human epidemiology data available on foodborne listeriosis, a
Listeria monocytogenes concentration of less than 100 per gram, at the consumption stage, may be
regarded as a low risk for all population groups.

The Commission has called together a working group of experts from the Member States in order to
initiate an overall discussion on harmonising the relevant microbiological criteria for each food category.
This group’s work will be included in draft Community legislation, as proposed in Article 6 of the Proposal
for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the hygiene of foodstuffs adopted on
14 July 2000 by the Commission (3) and submitted to Parliament and the Council.

In addition, with regard to small-scale producers, the Commission suggested, in Article 4 of the above
proposal, a system of derogations granted by the Member States which would take into account specific
geographical constraints, exclusively local distribution and/or traditional methods of production, without
compromising public health objectives.

(1) OJ L 268, 14.9.1992.

(2) OJ L 175, 19.7.1993.
(3) OJ C 365 E, 19.12.2000.

(2002/C 93 E/072) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2082/01

by Simon Murphy (PSE), Werner Langen (PPE-DE),
Emilia Müller (PPE-DE), Dirk Sterckx (ELDR), James Fitzsimons (UEN)
and Massimo Carraro (PSE) to the Commission

(13 July 2001)

Subject: Draft Risk Assessment Report ? Zinc and Zinc Chemicals

Is the Commission aware of the widespread concerns felt by the European General Galvanisers Association
at the timescale for the completion of the Risk Assessment Report (RAR) by the European Chemicals
Bureau into Zinc and Zinc Chemicals?

Does the Commission share our view that the RAR must take into account the findings of a substantial
Europe-wide zinc research programme, due for completion by the end of 2002?

Further, is the Commission concerned that failure to take that research programme into account would
result in itself, Parliament and Council receiving incomplete information about zinc and might lead to
flawed and damaging legislation?

(2002/C 93 E/073) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2127/01

by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission

(17 July 2001)

Subject: Assessment of the risks of zinc

Everybody know that the assessment of the risks to human health and the environment presented by zinc
is compulsory under Regulation 793/93 (1). Regulation 1488/94 (2) lays down the principles. Since it
belongs to the second list of priorities, zinc is currently being examined. The Dutch institute conducting
the study will be responsible for drawing up the report. The zinc-coating and related industries fear that
the Commission intends draw up the final report in too much of a hurry. The report is considered to be
incomplete, since the PNEC values (predicted no-effect concentrations) are thought to be inaccurate.