Veterinary Agreement to boost EU-New Zealand trade in animal products

Technical amendments to the EU-New Zealand Agreement on sanitary measures in live animals and animal products have recently been made to boost existing trade relations. This updated agreement, which has been in place since 1996, is the most advanced international bilateral agreement in the area of animal health, animal welfare and food safety systems.

Key innovative features that will lead to further trade opportunities whilst reducing costs for exporters are:

  • Enhanced equivalence provisions including EU standards for raw milk products;
  • Mutual recognition of microbiological controls and chemical testing standards for seafood;
  • Trade conditions to permit trade in certain products with agreed treatments during disease outbreaks;
  • Reduced physical inspection rates on products;
  • Resumption of fresh pig meat exports to New Zealand; and
  • Simplified certification and a move to electronic certification in 2016.

Worth €427 million in 2014, EU agricultural exports to New Zealand have increased significantly with a 20% annual average growth over the last five years. Several key commodities have also experienced high growth over recent years including pork products and cheese. New Zealand has authorised imports of high value raw milk products, such as Roquefort, Camembert and Emmental and fresh pig meat, from the EU. Both these products have significant potential for growth.  New Zealand was also the very first country in the world to re-authorise exports of EU beef following the BSE crisis.

Other important benefits of cooperation between the EU and New Zealand are:

  • The EU and New Zealand are complementary suppliers of high-quality products.  Because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, their production and exports peak in a way that is counter-cyclical to EU pastoral producers.  This means products from New Zealand complement those from the EU, maintaining year round availability of certain products.
  • The EU is New Zealand’s largest source of imported goods and services.
  • Through the mutual recognition of regionalisation under the Agreement, trade in animal products such as pork to continue, despite recent EU outbreaks of African Swine Fever, from regions that remain unaffected by the disease.

These benefits bring substantial economic incentives and maintain sustainable trade flows between both parties.

For more details:

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/1084 of 18 February 2015 approving on behalf of the European Union certain amendments to Annexes II, V, VII and VIII to the Agreement between the European Community and New Zealand on sanitary measures applicable to trade in live animals and animal products (notified under document C(2015) 797), OJ L 175, 4.7.2015, p. 45–123.

(Source: DG Sante website)

FVO report – Canada: meat and meat products for export in EU

The report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in Canada from 2 to 15 May 2014.

The objective of the audit was to evaluate the capacity of the Canadian competent authorities (CA), the Canadian Food Safety Authority (CFIA) to implement and to enforce the sanitary measures and the control systems put in place to fulfil the requirements for fresh meat, meat products, minced meat and meat preparations and casings for human consumption intended for export to the European Union (EU) under the auspices of the “Agreement between the European Community and Canada on sanitary measures to protect public health and animal health in respect of trade in live animals and animal products.” The initial scope of the audit was extended to cover also the official controls in relation to veterinary medicinal products (VMP) and residues in live horses and horse meat.

The FVO audit team visited five slaughterhouses with integrated cutting plants (two of these visited by both sub-teams on different days for horses or bovines/bison) and one casing establishment. The FVO audit team also visited one border crossing (horses imported from the USA), three feed lots (horse, bovine and bison), one wholesaler and one retailer of VMPs as well as one CFIA area office.

No major problems were identified in relation to general and specific hygiene requirements in any of the slaughter establishments visited. However, the casing establishment which was not exporting to the EU at the time of the FVO audit did not fulfil the requirements for EU listing. The CFIA does not ensure that the lists of establishments approved for export to the EU are kept up to date and communicated to the Commission as required. After the FVO audit was announced several requests for de-listing of establishments were made by the CA.

The FVO audit also identified shortcomings in relation to official controls over the traceability of bovine animals and bison destined for export to the EU.

No shortcomings were identified in relation to the implementation of the CFIA Ractopamine-Free Pork Certification Programme. The Growth Enhancement Products (GEP) free programme for bovines and bison is well documented but deficiencies in the design and the implementation of the programme question its robustness.

There are serious concerns in relation to the reliability of the controls over both imported and domestic horses destined for export to the EU. It cannot be guaranteed that horses have not been treated with illegal substances within the last 180 days before slaughter.

The residue monitoring in horse meat has been largely implemented as foreseen and in line with Codex Alimentarius requirements but the effectiveness of follow-up of non-compliant results has been variable. Whilst the CFIA puts the responsibility for follow-up of non-compliances largely on the shoulders of the slaughterhouses, the CFIA does not always fulfil its obligations for verifying and ensuring the effectiveness of the follow-up investigations and corrective actions. The CFIA is in this regard hampered by a lack of direct powers over primary producers and transient agents (dealers).

Here you can find the response from the Competent Authority to the report recommendations.