EU AND EU-APPROVED THIRD COUNTRIES
St Helena’s new draft and proposed food legislation states that: ‘Food business operators importing products of animal origin for use in approved premises shall ensure that importation takes place only from countries within the European Union (EU) or third countries approved by the European Commission.’
Third countries are those outside the EU that are approved by the EU to export food of animal origin. Before a country is approved and can start to export products, an evaluation of that country and its official food safety authority is carried out by the EU’s Food & Veterinary Office – as was done on St Helena in 2003 for the export of fish products.
South Africa is an EU-approved third country for the export of meat and meat products. If the new draft food legislation on St Helena is adopted, there will not be a ban on the importation of meat or meat products from South Africa.
A ban on a particular foodstuff from South Africa would only occur if there was a clear risk to public or animal health.
The objective of the new legislation is to import safe meat and meat products to St Helena from premises that are approved in the exporting country. The reason why we are proposing to adopt this model is that the Food & Veterinary Office already maintains an approved list of countries.
By allowing the importation of food of animal origin which originates in the EU or in EU-approved third countries, St Helena can rely on the controls in the originating country. It is the view of the Health Directorate that St Helena must be afforded full protection against the importation of any food that does not comply with minimum food safety standards.
During the consultation process on the new draft legislation, key stakeholders and the public are encouraged to express their views.
11 May 2016