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6.3.

2004 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 58 E/149

The reason that the number of successful candidates was lower than that laid down in the Official Journal
was that following correction of the written test only 125 candidates obtained the pass mark. The notice
of competition stipulated that in order to be admitted to the oral test the candidates must have the 150
highest marks and at least the pass mark. At the earlier stage of the competition only 277 candidates
completed the written tests out of a total of 300 who were invited.

Concerning competition COM/A/6/01

Among the candidates admitted to the oral examination, for field 1: 16 and for field 2: 86 were already or
previously under contract and working for the Commission as auxiliaries, temporary staff or officials.

For this competition the number of successful candidates as laid down in the Official Journal was reached.

With regard to the 3rd question put to the Commission by the Honourable Member, it should first of all
be noted that Selection Boards may exercise their discretion, not only in they way they organise interviews,
but also in determining the number and nature of questions to be put to the candidates. As indicated by
the Honourable Member, Selection Boards must ensure equality of treatment between candidates. However,
they are not required to draw up a fixed list of questions. They must simply ensure commonality of
standards by preparing their questions in advance to reflect the same level of difficulty. This requirement
was met in full by the Selection Boards for the two competitions in questionCOM/B/2/01 and
COM/A/6/01.

Clearly the use of a list of questions would not, in itself, guarantee equality of treatment, since orals are
very often held over several days and communication between candidates cannot be prevented.

(2004/C 58 E/164) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2264/03


by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(9 July 2003)

Subject: Contamination of frozen chicken intended for export by adding water and porcine and bovine
protein and by handling the meat with bare hands

1. Is the Commission aware that the protein plant Prowico in Nordhorn, Germany, which is near the
Dutch border, produces a powder called ‘Surplus 601’ which consists of relatively cheaply obtainable
bovine or porcine proteins from which the DNA code has been removed so that it is no longer possible to
ascertain from what animals the proteins have been derived?

2. Is the Commission aware that at least twelve businesses are using these special untraceable proteins,
including the Dutch chickenmeat plant Slegtenhorst in the village of Zevenhuizen, which add these
proteins to chickenmeat by injecting it or rinsing the meat for 90 minutes in tumblers (large metal
containers), in order to make the meat retain more water, thus substantially increasing its weight and
accordingly raising its price?

3. Is the Commission aware that this work is often performed by people who do not speak the
language of the country concerned, are compelled to work extremely long days and are permitted to cut
away bone, blood, fat and tendons from chicken breast without wearing plastic gloves, thereby maximising
opportunities for contamination of the meat?

4. Are the practices described in the previous three paragraphs not yet illegal in the EU provided at
least that a label inconspicuously indicates that water and some form of protein may have been added?

5. Is the Commission aware of other cases of such practices, including in other Member States?
C 58 E/150 Official Journal of the European Union EN 6.3.2004

6. Are such products mainly used in the form of deep-frozen products and for export to an EU Member
State other than that of production, making it more difficult for consumers to ascertain their origin?

7. What will the Commission do to protect consumers adequately against such contamination of food
in future?

Source: Nieuwe Revu (Dutch periodical), 4 June 2003.

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(16 September 2003)

The Honourable Member will be aware that current Community legislation governing the production of
fresh poultry meat and poultry meat preparations covers the production and marketing of these foodstuffs
on the Community market. Legislation also covers foodstuffs of this nature imported from third countries
into the Community. Exports of such foodstuffs to countries outside the Community, however, fall within
the competence of the Member States. The Honourable Member will know that the legislation does not
prescribe the use of gloves and that staff engaged in working or handling fresh poultry meat must, among
other things, wash and disinfect their hands several times during the working day and each time work is
resumed. The wearing of gloves by workers is not generally acceptable in slaughter rooms, cutting rooms
and chillers except where it can be shown that they do not pose a hygiene risk to the meat. Where gloves
are worn when handling exposed fresh poultry meat, they must be made of materials, which can be
cleaned and disinfected during work, and must be cleaned and disinfected during the working day and
each time work is resumed.

In addition to the foregoing, the answers to the sub-questions are as follows:

1. The Commission has been informed of the results of an investigation, published in 2002 and 2003 by
the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, concerning poultry meat prepared in the Netherlands and
marketed in Ireland to the catering trade. This followed a similar investigation by the United Kingdom
Food Standards Agency, which had led to identical conclusions. The Commission is aware through its
enquiries of the existence of the establishment ‘Prowico’. In addition to the foregoing, they are also
aware, through newspaper and television reports, such as the BBC ‘Panorama’ programme entitled ‘The
Chicken Run’ broadcast on 22 May 2003, of the existence of ‘Surplus 601’.

2. The Commission has no precise information on the number of establishments using the ‘untraceable
proteins’ but are aware of the Dutch establishment ‘Slegtenhorst’, which is listed by the Dutch
competent authorities as a cutting plant and meat preparations establishment, and of the method used.

3. Knowledge of the work conditions obtaining in individual establishments falls within the province of
the competent authorities in the Member States. As explained above, the wearing of plastic gloves is
not compulsory, or inherently any more hygienic than using bare hands, but where worn they are
subject to certain constraints.

4. As regards labelling, the indication of all ingredients used in the manufacture of any foodstuff and still
present in the finished product is compulsory according to Directive 2000/13/EC of the Parliament
and of the Council of 20 March 2000 relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of
foodstuffs (1). Moreover, the Commission is studying the way of emphasising the water content on the
labelling of meat preparations.

5. Enquiries were made by the Commission, during the meeting in July 2002 of the Standing Committee
on the Food Chain and Animal Health, and by mail in the same month, in relation to establishments
in Germany and Spain producing hydrolysed proteins. The responses from the central competent
authorities in August and September 2002 indicated that they were produced in accordance with
current Community legislation on hygiene, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and gelatine
intended for human consumption. They do not, therefore, in themselves pose a threat to human
health substantially different from the threat derived from the consumption of the fresh meat from
which these hydrolysed proteins are obtained.
6.3.2004 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 58 E/151

6. Poultry meat preparations produced in Community approved establishments may be placed anywhere
on the Community market. These meat preparations must meet the relevant Community hygienic
production, labelling and marketing standards and may be commercialised chilled or frozen.
7. The addition of water or of proteins does not, by itself or necessarily, contaminate the product,
particularly if the prescriptions of the relevant Community legislation are adhered to.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Commission is concerned lest consumers in the European Union be
misled or misinformed about the content of meat or meat products. The Commission has therefore
ordered a review of the applicable legislation to see what improvements can be made in the interests of
consumers.

(1) OJ L 109, 6.5.2000.

(2004/C 58 E/165) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2274/03


by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(9 July 2003)

Subject: Global warming, freshwater shortages, flooding of tourist destinations on Southern European
coastlines and impact of displacement of holiday-makers to different times and areas

1. Is the Commission aware that models for the prediction of climate change in the 21st century
suggest that warming will be 40 % greater in Southern Europe than, on average, in the world as a whole,
i.e. the temperature will rise by 5 °C as against 3,5 °C, which will be reflected, above all, in higher summer
temperatures and reduced precipitation?

2. Is the Commission aware that the masses of tourists from further north in Europe who spend their
summer holidays on the coast of the Mediterranean have been found to consider temperatures above 28 °
unpleasant, so that they might stay away if systematically higher temperatures are expected?

3. Is the Commission aware that the presence of holiday-makers in the Mediterranean region during the
peak summer period results in the consumption of vast quantities of freshwater for purposes of swimming,
showering, keeping golf courses green and extinguishing forest fires which break out partly on account of
recreation, while less and less freshwater is available?

4. Does the Commission regard it as inevitable that coasts which are currently popular with holiday-
makers will increasingly become unusable as the sea level rises and that the adjacent land will become
drier, in view, inter alia, of the on-going warming (again exemplified by the hot June in 2003), the fact
that EU Member States are not proving sufficiently capable of complying with their Kyoto obligations, the
aloofness of the major oil consumer  the US  from attempts to combat the greenhouse effect, the on-
going burning down of tropical rainforests and the melting of the ice-caps at the poles and in high
mountain regions?

5. In view of these developments, is it likely that over the next few decades the annual summer exodus
from north to south in Europe will either shift to different seasons of the year or divert to cooler and
damper coasts such as those of the North Sea and the Baltic? Is the Commission already making plans for
cushioning the resultant far-reaching impact on the environment, transport and regional economies? If so,
how?

Source: Volkskrant, 26 June 2003.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission


(19 September 2003)

1. The Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
recognises that projected climate changes during the 21st century have the potential to lead to future
large-scale and possible irreversible changes in Earth systems resulting in impacts at continental and global
scale. If these changes were to occur, their impacts would be widespread and sustained.