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- Practical Guide -
Page 14 of 153
As a consequence, a new corpus of legal instruments is emerging, with the following
Following the letter and the meaning of the Treaty of the European Union (`Treaty" i.e.
Treaty of Rome as modified until the Treaty of Amsterdam) restrictions to the Free
Trade of Foodstuffs in the Single Market are banned. Art. 28, according to its
interpretation by the European Courts ('Cassis de Dijon'), confers upon the Commission
the power to demand the deletion or amendment of a national provision hindering the
import of products from the other Member States. However, the Commission favours
removing such barriers, where they exist, through approximation of the laws of the
Member States, pursuant to Art. 95 of the Treaty.
Definitions of health standards, as elaborated with the contribution of the Scientific
Committee on Food
(in 2003, it will be replaced by the "Panel on food additives,
flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact" of the new European Food Safety
Authority (EFSA), are intertwined with the methods of analysis required to check them.
In the past, the Commission has spent much effort laying down these methods and has
now delegated the tedious task of elaborating validated and approved methods of
analysis to the CEN. Also DG Research and mainly the Joint Research Centre (JRC-
Ispra) collaborate in this issue.
Following the adoption of the Directive 89/109/EEC [A11], the Commission is
empowered by the Council to adopt Directives through a 'simplified procedure'. This
procedure excludes the transmission of the proposal to the European Parliament and to
the Council. The Commission adopts the proposal, after a vote in a regulatory body
called Standing Committee for Foodstuffs, composed by the representatives of the
Member States. The standard procedure is described in figure 1 (not all the references
are mentioned) and includes essentially the following steps:
Preparation of a draft by the Commission services;
Consultation of the Scientific Committee on Food on "provisions liable to affect
public health"
[Consultation of the Advisory Committee for Food]
Vote inside the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health
The Scientific Committee on Food investigates the risk connected to hygienic and toxicological aspects of the legislation proposed.
The last sentence of Article 3 of Dir. 89/109/EEC states:
'Provisions liable to affect public health shall be adopted after consulting the Scientific Committee for Food. They must fulfill the
criteria set out in Annex II.'
The Advisory Committee on Foodstuffs was composed by 10 permanent members and 20 experts, representing agriculture,
commerce, consumers, industry and employees. A new Committee is under preparation.
The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, a regulatory committee, comprises delegates from the Member
States' government authorities: new Directives or Regulations, proposed by the Commission for the approximation of existing national
legislation, are submitted to it for approval on behalf of the Member States.