The European Commission has adopted a series of transitional and permanent implementing measures to prepare for the application of the import provisions of the Animal By-Products Regulation as of 1 May last. The key objective of the Regulation was to revamp the veterinary legislation on animal by-products (i.e. parts of a slaughtered animal that are not consumed by humans), basically only allowing certain products to enter the feed chain.
Third countries export considerable quantities of animal by-products to the EU, either in the form of feed for farmed animals or pets (e.g. fishmeal, canned petfood) or as raw materials (e.g. tallow, bones, hides and skins) intended for the manufacture of such feed or for technical/industrial uses (production of cosmetics, medicinal products, medical devices, leather, glue, paint, plastic materials, etc).
Only material derived from animals declared fit for human consumption can be imported or used for the production of animal feed. Slightly less stringent conditions apply for other uses, such as biogas and oleo-chemical products.
Transitional period for trading partners
The rigorous measures required by the Regulation also apply to EU trading partners. Some of these third countries asked for a phase-in period to allow operators to adjust and for the relaxation of certain provisions that they consider disproportionate. In order to address these concerns, the Commission adopted a number of decisions:
The application of the third country import provisions was postponed until 30 April 2004.
Derogation has been granted for the import of photographic gelatine produced from specified risk vertebrae materials from the US and Japan intended for the production of photo films in France, the Netherlands and the UK.
For Australia, Canada, China and the US, derogation has been granted until 31 October 2005 for the continued import of certain products not meeting the requirements of the Regulation concerning the total separation of Categories 1, 2 and 3 processing plants.
Derogation has been granted for the import, transit, trade and export of Categories 1 and 2 risk materials (hides and skins, rendered fats, intestines and bones) intended exclusively for technical/industrial uses.
The postponement of the application of the import provisions until 30 April 2004 has given adequate time for trading partners and operators to adjust to the new requirements. It has also enabled the Commission to update import rules, for example by making the necessary technical amendments to the model health certificates and establishing health conditions for new products such as collagen, egg products, tri-calcium phosphate and flavouring innards. The review of the health certificates was also necessary to adapt them to an electronic format, allowing for the speedy transfer of trade documents. The revised models of health certificates, which apply on 1 May, can be found in Regulation (EC) No 668/2002 (Official Journal L112 of 19.4.2004, page 1).
After 1 May operators are strongly advised to check with the relevant competent authorities before shipment of their products. Nevertheless, in order not to disrupt trade, the Commission has advised Member States to continue to accept the health certificates drawn up according to the old rules until 15 June 2004 and thereafter to exercise some further flexibility until 15 August 2004, enabling the import of products which have left third countries before 15 June.
In the past, there were several different sets of rules on the trade of animal by-products not intended for human consumption. In particular, Council Directive 92/118/EEC laid down health rules for food and non-food products of animal origin which were not subject to specific EU rules. In order to make things easier for businesses and enforcement authorities, all the rules concerning products of animal origin not intended for human consumption have now been simplified and are provided for in the new Regulation. All previous rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption have been repealed and the scope of Directive 92/118/EEC has been reduced to animal products intended for human consumption and pathogens, with effect from 1 May 2004.
Online guidance on applying the new animal by-products Regulation
The scope and objectives of the Regulation have been examined by stakeholders and representatives of both of EU and third country governments and seminars have been organised to explain the provisions of the Regulation. Based on these experiences as well as the one year of applying the Regulation in the EU, the Commission has prepared an online guidance document and other information, which can be found here:
For more details on the permitted uses and disposal of each Category of materials, see: http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=IP/02/1361|0|AGED&lg=EN&display=