Biological hazards such as bacteria, viruses or prions are present in food
products and, in particular, in products of animal origin. Salmonella in
poultry, Listeria monocytogenes in dairy products and meat, biotoxins in live
molluscs, Trichinella in horses, wild boars and domestic pigs and BSE in cattle
pose serious risks to public health. After the food crisis in the nineties, the
Commission took further steps to increase the level of food safety and restore
consumer confidence. Among these measures, based on accepted scientific
opinion, we can mention the following:
- A comprehensive and coordinated approach with regard to food hygiene,
covering all levels of the food chain and a transparent policy applied to all
food and food operators.
- An assessment of the safety and quality of all types of food products by
setting microbiological criteria that apply either to food production processes
or to final products.
- Improved knowledge of the sources and tendencies of pathogens by monitoring
zoonotic agents throughout the food chain and animal feed chain. The
introduction of programmes to control salmonella and other zoonotic diseases
transmitted through food in order to reduce public health risks and lay the
foundations to adopt the measures to deal with the said risks.
- Effective control of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (BSE,
scrapie,...). The development of measures to prevent the infection of other
animals or the contamination of consumers. The standardisation of measures
related to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) in Member States and
of regulations governing imports from third countries with respect to TSE.
- A ban on processing certain animal sub-products to produce animal feed or
technical products and the establishing of safe alternative methods for the use
or disposal of animal waste.