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Guides on the EU Health policy.
Traditional herbal medicines: more safety for products put on EU market
From 30 April 2011, EU citizens can be reassured that the traditional herbal medicines they buy in the EU are safe and effective. The expiry of the 7 year transition period set out in the 2004 Herbal Directive (2004/24/EC) means that only medicinal products which have been registered or authorised can remain on the EU market after 1 May 2011. The Herbal Directive introduces a simpler registration procedure than for other medicinal products, in respect of the long history of use of traditional herbal medicinal products. At the same time, the Directive provides the necessary guarantees of their quality, safety and efficacy.
New EU Guidelines on Colorectal Cancer Screening and Diagnosis - guide
On the eve of World Cancer Day, in an effort to improve the screening and diagnosis of colorectal cancer, the European Commission published the first edition of the European Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Colorectal Cancer Screening and Diagnosis. Colorectal cancer is the second most common newly diagnosed cancer in the EU. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in the EU, accounting for one in seven new cancers and one in eight cancer deaths. Improving diagnosis and screening is key to reduce the mortality rates from colorectal cancer.
EU actions to fight HIV/Aids - key facts
To commemorate World AIDS Day, the European Parliament held a seminar on HIV testing. Early detection is vital for early treatment and increasing life expectancy, as estimates show that about one third of people infected with HIV in Europe are unaware they have it. To fight AIDS on a global scale, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs recently announced a 10% increase in contributions to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), to which the EU is already the largest donor, providing 52% of resources. The increase would allow the Commission to contribute around €1.3 billion over the period 2002-2013.
Cloning - guide
The European Commission has announced that it will propose a temporary suspension of animal cloning for food production in the EU. The Commission also plans to suspend temporarily the use of cloned farm animals and the marketing of food from clones. All temporary measures will be reviewed after five years. The establishment of a traceability system for imports of reproductive materials for clones, such as semen and embryos of clones is also envisaged. The system will allow farmers and industry to set up database with the animals that would emerge from these reproductive materials.
Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Production - Communication
The European Commission for the very first time envisages comprehensive EU legislation on oil platforms aimed at ensuring the highest safety standards in the world. In a Communication on the safety of oil and gas activities, the Commission contemplates new EU standards, including criteria for granting drilling permits, controls of the rigs and safety control mechanisms.
Contraband and counterfeit cigarettes - guide
The European Commission has announced a multi-year agreement with British American Tobacco (BAT) to work together in tackling the illicit trade in tobacco products. Under the legally binding agreement, BAT will work with the Commission, its anti-fraud office OLAF, and EU Member States' law enforcement authorities to help in the fight against contraband and counterfeit cigarettes. The Agreement includes substantial payments by BAT to the Commission and Member States, totalling USD 200 million (EUR 134 million) over the next 20 years. It should make a significant contribution to the EU’s efforts to fight the illicit tobacco trade, which robs the EU and Member States of billions of euros every year.
EU's new approach to the cultivation of GMOs - guide
The European Commission has proposed to confer to EU Member States the freedom to allow, restrict or ban the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on part or all of their territory. While keeping unchanged the EU's science-based GM authorisation system, the adopted package consists of a Communication, a new Recommendation on co-existence of GM crops with conventional and/or organic crops and a draft Regulation proposing a change to the GMO legislation. The new Recommendation on co-existence allows more flexibility to Member States taking into account their local, regional and national conditions when adopting co-existence measures. The proposed regulation amends Directive 2001/18/EC to allow Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory.
EU bathing water policy - briefing
The annual bathing water report presented by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency shows that 96% of coastal bathing areas and 90% of bathing sites in rivers and lakes complied with minimum standards in 2009. It also describes where to obtain detailed and up-to-date information on bathing sites.
The fight against tobacco in the EU - briefing
Ahead of the 2010 No Tobacco Day (31 May), the European Commission unveils the results of a Eurobarometer survey which shows that a strong majority of EU citizens support stronger tobacco control measures. For example, three in every four Europeans supports picture health warnings on tobacco packs and smoke free restaurants. The survey also shows, however, that nearly one in every three Europeans still smokes, despite the fact that tobacco kills half of its users. The Commission is planning to launch an open consultation shortly with a view to revising the 2001 Tobacco Products Directive and is stepping up its tobacco control efforts throughout the EU.
EU Directive on Organ Donation and Transplantation - briefing
People needing organ transplants should face shorter waiting times after the European Parliament approved on 19 May 2010 a draft directive on quality and safety standards for human organs used for transplants. The directive covers all stages of the chain from donation to transplantation and provides for cooperation between Member States. MEPs also adopted a resolution on an Action Plan for organ donation.
Key facts about bird flu (Avian Influenza)
The European Commission adopted today a decision confirming the risk areas set up by the Romanian authorities in relation to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a backyard poultry farm located in the commune of Letea, in Tulcea county, at the Danube's delta close to the Ukrainian border.
Safety of sunbeds - briefing
Consumers should be aware of the potential risks associated with using sunbeds according to the results of a market surveillance check of sunbeds and sunbed services, published today by the European Commission. Market surveillance authorities in 10 EU Member States inspected more than 500 sunbeds at over 300 locations (mostly tanning salons and wellness centres) between September 2008 and September 2009, and found three main problems: UV radiation limits for sunbeds were violated in one in seven sunbeds made available at tanning services; consumer guidance, including on the hazards of UV radiation or prohibiting their use by under 18s was not provided; there were insufficient warnings on the sunbeds themselves (e.g. that UV radiation may cause injury). Authorities are intensifying their work to ensure compliance with all relevant safety legislation and the results of the 2008/2009 check will feed into a follow up project launched today by authorities in 12 Member States to train more inspectors and improve information to consumers. Authorities are also working more with the sunbed industry, which is itself developing training material for service providers such as tanning studios.
European Commission DG Health and Consumers Contacts
Contacts of the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers.
Plant health: Harmful organisms
The aim of the Community plant health regime is to prevent the introduction into the community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products or their spread within the Community. In order to meet the this aim, rights and obligations are placed upon Member States to regulate the movement of plants or plant products within their territory and to regulate the introduction of plants or plant products into the Community from third countries. Obligations are placed upon third countries which want to export plants or plant products to the Community.
Trade and Imports of Animal Products - personal consignments
Personal consignments containing meat, milk or their products and brought into the EU continue to present a real threat to animal health throughout the EU. Hence pathogens could be introduced into the EU if personal consignments containing meat, milk or their products are sent by post or carried in the baggage of travellers arriving from countries outside the EU, where such pathogens may be circulating.
Nutrition and health claims
Nutrition and health claims which encourage consumers to purchase a product, but are false, misleading or not scientifically proven are prohibited. The aim is to improve protection of consumers’ health and rights. European legislation has created a list of nutrition and health claims and the conditions for their authorisation which applies throughout the EU.
Labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs
Pre-packaged foodstuffs must comply with compulsory harmonised EU standards on labelling and advertising. The details that must appear on packaging include the name under which the product is sold, a list of ingredients and quantities, potential allergens (products which may cause allergies), the minimum durability date and conditions for keeping.
Quality and safety standards for human blood and blood components
The extent to which human blood is used therapeutically demands that the quality and safety of whole blood and blood components be ensured in order, in particular, to prevent the transmission of diseases. This EU Directive lays down high standards of quality and safety of human blood and blood components throughout the Community. The objective is to introduce a comprehensive package of binding rules applicable throughout the whole blood transfusion chain.
Organ donation and transplantation in the EU
Organ transplantation remains essential for the treatment of certain diseases. However, several factors must be taken into consideration where this therapeutic method is concerned: the risk of transmission of disease, the limited supply of organs and organ trafficking. This EU communication therefore aims to present the various potential options to ensure the quality and safety of organs, increase their availability and combat organ trafficking.
Sixth Environment Action Programme
The EU defines the priorities and objectives of European environment policy up to 2010 and beyond and describes the measures to be taken to help implement its sustainable development strategy.