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Suspension of animal imports from China

20 May 2004

On January 15th 2002 the EU Standing Veterinary
Committee agreed to a Commission proposal to suspend imports from
China of all 'products of animal origin intended for human consumption
or for use in animal feed'. This affected imports to the tune of
Euro 327 million, mainly honey, rabbit meat, poultry, shrimps and
prawns. This followed an EU Food and Veterinary Office inspection
visit which found problems with the control of residues and the
use of 'banned substances'. This action was taken on the basis of
EU regulations from 1995 and 1997 dealing with imports of products
from third countries which are likely to constitute a serious danger
to human or animal health (directives 97/78/EC and 95/53/EC for
animal nutrition.)

Editorial comment

The action taken against Chinese exports of animal products needs
to be seen against the backdrop of increasingly strict application
of EU food hygiene regulations. It remains to be seen whether it
will be economic for the Chinese authorities to establish improved
control systems and change current production practices in order
to comply with EU standards. For ACP countries it highlights the
far reaching implications of the stricter application of EU health
regulations dealing with imports from third countries.