COUNCIL OFBrussels, 11 July 2008
THE EUROPEAN UNION
NOTE from :
to : Council
Subject : Mutual information obligations of the Member States where food hygiene offences are detected (cheese, wine)
Delegations will find annexed hereto written information from the German delegation concerning
mutual information obligations of the Member States where food hygiene offences are detected
Prompted by two recent occurrences relating to hygiene shortcomings in connection with
cheese and to adulterated wine, the German delegation wishes to emphasise the obligations
laid down in Community law to provide mutual notification whenever offences against the
provisions of Community legislation are detected.
Mutual notification is important not only for reasons of consumer protection but also because
otherwise trust in the European system of controls and standards, as well as the image of
European products, is undermined.
In the field of foodstuffs and veterinary legislation, Directive 89/608/EEC 1 provides for
immediate mutual notification of the competent authorities of the Member States of activities which
are in breach of the relevant Community legislation, with regard also to products of animal origin.
Furthermore, Article 37 of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 2 imposes on Member States the
obligation to notify each other immediately where the competent authorities of a Member State
receive infomation concerning a contravention which may have repercussions for another
Member State. These obligations refer not only to foodstuffs involving a health risk, but also to all
offences against Community food legislation, e.g. also food hygiene legislation.
In the wine sector, in accordance with the specific provisions on controls under Articles 7 and 8 of
Regulation (EC) No 2729/2000 3, the Member States are obliged in all cases to inform each other
The Federal Government is particularly concerned that where these current episodes were
concerned the German authorities received much important information initially from press reports,
but not under the information exchange between the authorities concerned in the Member States.
Such problems in the exchange of information between authorities render it more difficult for the
supervisory authorities to carry out their duties in connection with consumer health protection in the
food distribution chain and in combating fraud. The reliability of official checks in the internal
market is thus damaged and consumer trust in the safety and quality of food products is lost. Even
individual cases may in this way result in lasting damage to the reputation of food product
supervision, the food industry and the wine sector.
For these reasons the German delegation would like to draw attention in the strongest terms to the
requirements of Community legislation regarding the mutual exchange of information between the
Member States where offences are detected. In addition, the Commission is also urged to take
systematic action on offences against Community legislation.