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C 155 E/40 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.

2003

Population and Development and the Plan of Action for the Elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices
Affecting the Health of Women and Children, and UN resolution No 54/133, will the Council intervene
with the Irish Government to drop its order to deport Christina Onasanwo and Bolu Onasanwo to Nigeria
where they are at risk of female genital mutilation as decreed by tribal elders?

Reply

(4 March 2003)

The Council is not aware of the case to which the question refers.

(2003/C 155 E/046) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2675/02


by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Commission

(24 September 2002)

Subject: Dangers for the environment and consumers posed by fish farming

A study carried out by consumer organisations in Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Italy, published in No 228
of the journal ‘Proteste’, confirms the reports, long since published by various sources on the Internet, that
the salmon consumed on the European market entails substantial risks for consumer health, in particular
because of the very high levels of PCBs. The industrial farming of carnivorous fish is today the principal
threat to the sustainable development of fisheries, because of the pressure put on the wild fish on which it
depends for fishmeal supplies, as well as because of sea pollution and the threat to wild fish stocks.

The study also clearly reveals the risks which the practice poses for consumer health.

In view of this, can the Commission say:

1. When it intends to promote legislation to monitor the presence of PCBs in food;

2. Whether it considers that it should reformulate its initiative to revise the CFP in the light of existing
data showing the dangers posed to sustainable development by the farming of carnivorous fish?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(21 November 2002)

The contamination of feed and food by dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) constitutes a
risk to public health. Therefore measures need to be taken to reduce their level of contamination. The
Commission has developed a comprehensive strategy to reduce the presence of these contaminants in
environment, feed and food which is outlined in a Communication from the Commission to the Council,
the Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee on a Community strategy for dioxins, furans and
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (1).

With regard to dioxins and furans in fish maximum levels have already been set by Council Regulation
(EC) No 2375/2001 of 29 November 2001 amending Commission Regulation (EC) No 466/2001 setting
maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (2). This Regulation foresees a revision of the
maximum levels by 31 December 2004 with a view to the inclusion of dioxin-like PCBs. Commission
Recommendation 2002/201/EC of 4 March 2002 (3) establishes the criteria for monitoring dioxins and
dioxin-like PCBs in a wide range of feed and food, including fish.
3.7.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/41

The Commission also identified in the above-mentioned Communication the need to perform a risk
assessment on the non dioxin-like PCBs and to obtain recent data on occurrence of these contaminants in
feed and food. The Commission has therefore requested the Scientific Committee on Food to perform such
a risk assessment. Thereafter, the Commission will consider appropriate measures to limit the presence of
non dioxin-like PCBs throughout the whole feed and food chain. In the meantime, the Commission has
requested authorities and operators to monitor also non dioxin-like PCBs in feed and food, in particular
fish and fishery products, and will compile the results in a comprehensive database. For the time being, the
Commission has not received comprehensive evidence of the presence of very high levels of PCBs in
salmon on the European market, which would entail substantial risks for consumer health.

The Community strategy for sustainable development of European aquaculture aims to create the best
possible conditions that will enable aquaculture producers to offer a healthy product in the quantities
required by the market, while not degrading the environment. This strategy is set out in the recent
Communication from the Commission to the Council and the Parliament entitled ‘A strategy for the
sustainable development of European Aquaculture’ (4). This strategy has been drawn up in the context of
the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform and sets out a plan to further develop the aquaculture sector
and create secure employment particularly in fisheries dependent areas but not at the expense of the
environment, food safety or quality.

The Commission does not agree that fish farming is the principal threat to the sustainable development of
fisheries. Rather, the principal threat comes from overexploitation of wild stocks, low quantities of mature
fish and the fact that the available fishing capacity of the Community fleets far exceed that required to
harvest fish in a sustainable manner.

As regards the pressure put on wild fish, the Commission has requested the International Council for the
Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to carry out an evaluation of the impact of industrial fishing on marine
ecosystems. It will continue to monitor the conduct of industrial fisheries to ensure that their impact on
human consumption fish species and other marine species remains low and improved management
measures will be proposed as appropriate.

(1) OJ C 322, 17.11.2001.


(2) OJ L 321, 6.12.2001.
(3) OJ L 67, 9.3.2002.
(4) COM(2002) 511 final.

(2003/C 155 E/047) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2687/02


by Mario Borghezio (NI) to the Commission

(26 September 2002)

Subject: Toxicity of EUR 1 and EUR 2 coins

According to a report published recently by the British scientific Journal ‘Nature’, the EUR 1 and EUR 2
coins release a quantity of nickel between 240 and 320 times higher than the ceiling laid down by
European Directive 94/27/EC (1).

The allergic nature of nickel, which can irritate the human skin, and its toxic metallic properties for the
liver, kidneys and brain are causing concern among scientists who have carried out experiments taping the
coins to the skin of volunteers, with worrying results.

As the Commission not consider that these coins should be replaced as a matter of urgency with EUR 1
and EUR 2 notes?

(1) OJ L 188, 22.7.1994, p. 1.