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8.4.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 85/39

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘Proposal for a Directive of the
European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 95/2/EC as regards the conditions of
use for a food additive E-425 konjac’

(COM(2002) 451 — 2002/0201 (COD))

(2003/C 85/11)

On 17 September 2002 the Council decided to consult the European Economic and Social Committee,
under Article 95 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned proposal.

The Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment, which was responsible for
preparing the Committee’s work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 13 November 2002. The
rapporteur was Mr Donnelly.

At its 395th plenary session on 11 and 12 December 2002 (meeting of 11 December 2002), the
European Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinion by 97 votes to zero, with six
abstentions.

1. Introduction mini-cups constitute a risk to human health as well as a


possible life-threatening risk. In the present case, warning
through labelling is considered as not sufficient to protect
1.1. The Miscellaneous Additives Directive (95/2/EC) human health, especially with regard to children.
applies to food additives other than colours, sweeteners
and flour-treatment agents. Only additives which satisfy the
requirements laid down by the Scientific Committee for Food
may be used in foodstuffs. The main condition of use is the
need to protect the consumer. 2. General comments

1.2. Directive 95/2/EC authorises in its Annex IV the use of 2.1. The use of E-425 konjac in jelly confectionery is a
the food additive E-425 konjac in foodstuffs under certain serious cause of health risk. It is life threatening in the case of
conditions. jelly mini-cups, and number of deaths have been reported in
third countries, due to the ingestion of such products, in
particular among infants, children and elderly.
1.3. Several Member States and third countries have taken
measures to temporarily prohibit the placing on the market of
jelly mini-cups containing E-425 konjac because they consti-
tute a serious risk to human health. Warning through labelling 2.2. The Committee therefore believes that the measure
is not a sufficient requirement to protect human health, proposed by the Commission is appropriate and responds
especially of children. adequately to the Community objective of ensuring a high
level of health protection.

1.4. Article 53(1) of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 allows


the Commission to suspend the placing on the market or use 2.3. The Committee agrees with the Commission that
of a food that is likely to constitute a serious risk to human labelling is not an adequate response to the problem. Infants
health, when such risk cannot be contained satisfactorily by and children may not be able to read labels.
means of measures taken by the Member States concerned.

2.4. Some third countries have addressed the problem in


1.5. By Decision 2002/247/EC of 27 March 2002, the
Commission has suspended the placing on the market and issuing product recalls. Such emergency measure was adopted
by the Commission in March 2002. The Commission now
import of jelly confectionery containing food additive E-425
proposes to adopt a permanent measure. The Committee
konjac.
supports the Commission’s view.

1.6. By the 2002 Proposal (1) on the conditions of use for a


food additive E-425 konjac, the Commission intends to amend 2.5. Product recalls are an appropriate temporary response
Directive 95/2/EC on food additives in order to withdraw the to a situation of emergency, or as a precautionary measure,
authorisation to use E-425 konjac in jelly mini-cups and the but are not an adequate measure in the longer term. The
use of E-425 konjac in any other jelly confectionery. Jelly production and marketing of a product which is not just a
potential risk for health, but is life threatening and has been
the direct cause of many deaths, must be banned in the
( 1) COM(2002) 451, 5.8.2002. Community, and should not just be suspended.
C 85/40 EN Official Journal of the European Union 8.4.2003

2.6. Finally, the Committee has always been concerned by 3. Conclusion


the compliance of EU regulations with international trading
standards. In this case, the Committee feels that the withdrawal
of the use of E-425 konjac in jelly mini-cups and any other
jelly confectionery does not represent an obstacle to trade. The 3.1. The Committee welcomes and fully supports the
proposed measure only aims at banning the use of E-425 Commission’s proposal to amend Annex IV of Directive 95/2/
konjac in products where it represents a life threatening risk EC aimed at withdrawing the use of E-425 konjac in jelly mini-
by the proposed measure. cups and any other jelly confectionery.

Brussels, 11 December 2002.

The President
of the European Economic and Social Committee
Roger BRIESCH

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘Proposal for a Council Directive
amending Directive 88/407/EEC laying down the animal health requirements applicable to intra-
Community trade in and imports of semen of domestic animals of the bovine species’

(COM(2002) 527 final — 2002/0229 (CNS))

(2003/C 85/12)

On 9 October 2002 the Council decided to consult the European Economic and Social Committee, under
Article 37 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned proposal.

The Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment, which was responsible for
preparing the Committee’s work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 13 November 2002. The
rapporteur was Leif E. Nielsen.

At its 395th plenary session on 11 and 12 December 2002 (meeting of 11 December), the European
Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinion by 103 votes in favour and two
abstentions.

1. Gist of the Commission proposal ditions applicable to entry of bulls into AI centres, in
particular concerning infectious bovine rhinothracheitis
(IBR/IPV) and bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD/MD);
1.1. Council Directive 88/407/EEC lays down a series of
detailed animal health requirements applicable to trade in, and
imports of, semen of domestic animals of the bovine species.

— to simplify the Community procedure for the approval of


The purpose of the Commission’s proposed amendment is: AI centres in third countries. These lists of approved AI
centres are frequently modified on formal grounds on the
basis of the information sent by the competent authorities
— to permit the storage of bovine semen at semen storage of third countries (address, name, new establishment etc);
centres on premises other than the artificial insemination
(AI) centre where semen was collected;

— to amend, in the light of the new scientific data available


and the new provisions laid down by the Office Inter- — to allow the Commission to amend, following the
national des Epizooties (OIE), the animal health con- comitology procedure, the annexes to Directive 88/407/