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C 110 E/194 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.


(2003/C 110 E/215) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3303/02

by Giovanni Pittella (PSE) to the Commission

(21 November 2002)

Subject: Alarm concerning consumer protection in the food sector

Italian Financial Police have confiscated dozens of tonnes of contaminated tomatoes from Greece destined
for firms in the province of Salerno. This has, for obvious reasons, aroused concern and alarm, both as
regards consumer protection and for the tomato processing factories.

The tomatoes were accompanied by health and hygiene certificates issued by the Greek authorities before
they were despatched to Italy.

How does the Commission intend to ascertain the level at which responsibility for the issue of the
certificates lies and the possibility of outside interference on the part of criminal organisations?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-3259/02 and E-3303/02
given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(14 January 2003)

Council Directive 93/43/EEC of 14 June 1993 on the hygiene of foodstuffs (1) provides that food
businesses operators must ensure that only foodstuffs produced in a hygienic way, and not harmful to
health, are placed on the market. This Directive, which is applicable to all foodstuffs of plant origin, does
not foresee the delivery of hygiene certificates for the exchange of products between Member States and,
therefore, it is not clear to which certificate reference is made or why such a certificate should be delivered
considering that there is no obligation in Community law.

It is incumbent upon the competent authorities in each Member State, under the provisions of Council
Directive 89/397/EEC of 14 June 1989 on the official control of foodstuffs (2), to ensure that food
businesses operators comply with all Community and national measures that apply to foodstuffs, through
inspections, sampling, examinations of written records and other activities. If, while carrying out controls,
the competent authorities ascertain that failure to comply with food law might result in risks to the safety
or wholesomeness of foodstuffs they shall take appropriate measures, which may extend to the withdrawal
and/or the destruction of the foodstuff or the closure of all or part of the undertaking for an appropriate
period of time.

Moreover, in Articles 6 and 7 of Council Directive 93/99/EEC of 29 October 1993 on the subject of
additional measures concerning the official control of foodstuffs (3), a system of administrative assistance
between the Member States in all proceedings for infringements of the food law is established. To facilitate
this administrative assistance a single liaison body is designated in each Members State, with the role of
assisting and co-ordinating communication and, in particular, the transmission and reception of requests
for assistance.

When, during the exchange of information, it becomes clear that there may have been a case of non-
compliance with Community or national laws, the competent authority in the Member State in whose
territory the alleged non-compliance has taken place shall in due time report back to the competent
authority in the other Member State on any action taken to deal with the case and on any action to
attempting to prevent a recurrence of the alleged non-compliance.

The mutual administrative assistance does not exclude, in any way, the obligation of Member States to
notify the Commission, through the rapid alert system established under the provisions of Regulation (EC)
No 178/2002 (4), of a direct or indirect risk to human health deriving from food.

Referring to the case in question, the Commission has not received any notification through the rapid alert
system and is not in possession of specific elements justifying a Community action beyond the measures
which could be more appropriately taken at Member State level.
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/195

The Commission invite the Honourable Members to provide, if available, more information about the
incident referred to in the questions, which would allow the Commission to judge whether it is
appropriate to take action at Community level.

(1) OJ L 175, 19.7.1993.

(2) OJ L 186, 30.6.1989.
(3) OJ L 290, 24.11.1993.
(4) Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general
principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down
procedures in matters of food safety, OJ L 31, 1.2.2002.

(2003/C 110 E/216) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3260/02

by Hanja Maij-Weggen (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(19 November 2002)

Subject: Treatment of stray animals (dogs and cats) in Greece

Is the Commission aware that, in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games, the Greek Government is
planning to catch stray animals in special traps, shut them up in animal homes and, unless an owner or
potential owner appears within seven days, kill them?

Will the Commission ask the Greek Government to solve this problem in a more humane way, preferably
in cooperation with Greek animal welfare organisations such as CIDAG?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(14 January 2003)

The Commission shares the view of the Honourable Member that unnecessary suffering of animals is not

The Commission places great importance on animal welfare and the first Community regulation on this
subject was established as far back as 25 years ago. The Community has adopted general rules on the
rearing of animals with the view to protecting their welfare. More detailed conditions have been laid down
on the rearing of calves, pigs and laying hens. The Community has also passed legislation on animal
transport and the conditions for the slaughter animals.

Community rules also exist on the use of animals for scientific research. Community legislation on animal
transport and on the use of animals for scientific research is applicable to cats and dogs.

However, the way stray dogs are dealt with is a matter where the Community has no general legal
competence. Within the Union, this domain is under the sole responsibility of the Member States. The
issue should therefore be raised with the Greek authorities.

(2003/C 110 E/217) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3266/02

by Renzo Imbeni (PSE)
and Guido Podestà (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(19 November 2002)

Subject: Seat of the European Food Safety Authority

Now that the top-level managers responsible for European food safety policy have been appointed in both
the Commission and the European Food Safety Authority, is the Commission ready to take steps to ensure
that a decision is reached as soon as possible on the definitive seat of the European Food Safety Authority
so that it can start carrying out its tasks under optimum conditions?