EU reviews campylobacter and E.coli control measures

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Member states European union

EU reviews campylobacter and E.coli control measures
The European Commission is currently evaluating the costs of implementing harmonised campylobacter control measures, as the number of cases increased by 7% in 2010.

The European Commission’s health and consumer policy spokesman Frederic Vincent told GlobalMeatNews​: “A cost benefit analysis is ongoing regarding campylobacter to evaluate the costs and benefits of possible future control options.”

Last week, a report by the European Food Saefety Authority (EFSA) revealed that the number of campylobacter cases in the EU increased for the fifth year in a row, reaching 212,064. Vincent hailed the report, saying it allowed the Commission to assess the effects of its decisions. “The data collection on zoonoses monitoring is an obligation for member states. EFSA is obliged​ [to] publish an annual report summarising the data and analyse the trends. The report and assessment provides the Commission​ [with] an excellent tool to evaluate the trends and effects of the measures taken at EU level to combat zoonotic infections,”​ he added.

EFSA pointed out that differences in the way data is recorded in various member states made it difficult to ensure the accuracy of the information, but according to Vincent, the Commission has gone as far as possible to harmonise data collection. He said: “Where considered essential, harmonisation has been introduced – i.e. monitoring to follow-up salmonella controls in poultry flocks or laying down microbiological criteria.

“In some areas, however, the competence of the Commission to harmonise monitoring is limited – for example in the public health sector. But even where different approaches exist between member states, the most important purpose of monitoring is to see and evaluate trends. This is possible with the current monitoring requirements and rules.”

The report added that E.coli cases were also on the rise in the EU, and Vincent said the Commission was working on additional measures to the ones that already regulate controls. “Following the E.coli crisis linked to the consumption of sprouted seeds last year and to the existing general hygiene rules, the Commission is currently discussing additional specific measures on sprouts. EFSA has been requested to look more carefully into the risk from other food of plant origin.

“The risk linked to E.coli from food of animal origin (mainly raw beef) has already been known for a long time. EU legislation covers all stages of the production, processing, distribution and placing on the market of food intended for human consumption,”​ he added.

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