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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/195

Is the European Commission aware of the existence of this possibly lethal syndrome and its causes?

Does the European Commission intend to take action to inform the general European public about this
syndrome and to warn them against feeding honey and corn syrup to infants, for example through
information campaigns or obligatory warnings on honey and corn syrup?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(20 December 2002)

The Commission is aware of the botulism risk associated with the consumption of honey as described by
the Honourable Member, although a similar risk associated with corn syrup has not so far been brought to
its attention.

The Commission submitted a question to the Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures relating to
Public Health on this issue in June 2001. The Committee adopted an opinion on 19/20 June 2002, where
it confirmed that the only biological risk linked to the consumption of honey is botulism in young

However, the Committee noted that:

 the routes by which honey is contaminated are unknown;

 the environment (soil, dust) is thought to play a critical role as a source of infection for infants;

 in general, in Europe, the risk of infant botulism is extremely low,

 the level and frequency of contamination of honey with the bacteria is also low.

As a conclusion, the Committee did not consider that requesting microbiological testing or setting
microbiological criteria would be effective control options against infant botulism, due to the sporadic
occurrence of the disease and low levels of the bacteria in honey. The Committee recommended that
effective and targeted information regarding the risks of infant botulism from the consumption of honey
should be provided (via leaflets, labelling or advice to health care professionals).

A preliminary discussion took place with the Member States in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain
and Animal Health (SCFCAH) before the scientific opinion was available. A further discussion with the
Member States, on the basis of the recent scientific recommendations, is foreseen at the next Committee
meeting. The Commission will consider the orientations of the SCFCAH and continue to follow all
developments with the utmost attention, in keeping with its obligations and its commitment to ensure a
high level of consumer protection.

(2003/C 137 E/220) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3370/02

by Jan Dhaene (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(27 November 2002)

Subject: Automatic rear fog flashlight (ARFF) equipment for vehicles

Each year, many die in rear-end collisions on Europe’s roads as result of fog. Failure to adjust speed is a
significant factor in such accidents, of course, but vehicle rear-light configurations also play a significant
role. Laws in Europe on the use of rear fog lights are highly diverse, too, nor are they harmonised.

The ARFF system can improve rear-light configurations without installing additional lamps: when a vehicle
brakes normally, the rear fog light, if it is switched on, will flash for eight seconds. An emergency stop
alarm system can be added, which, when a vehicle brakes sharply, will make the rear fog light flash for
eight seconds, too, even if it is not switched on. DaimlerChrysler has already carried out research into the
C 137 E/196 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

system; it has also been tested and presented for DG TREN (High-Level Group on Road Safety) (on
23 November 1999). The aim is, at all times, to alert other drivers to a dangerous situation more quickly.

1. Does the Commission have figures on the number of casualties (fatalities and injuries) resulting from
accidents in fog, vehicle pile-ups and rear-end collisions in the EU Member States and candidate countries?

2. Is the Commission planning to harmonise legislation on the use of fog lights in the EU Member

3. What measures are planned by the Commission to adapt rear-light configurations for motor vehicles
in order to increase road safety?

4. Is the Commission considering making systems such as ARFF, which can increase safety for
motorised road users, mandatory?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(21 January 2003)

The Commission has a road accident database (CARE) which contains data supplied by the Member States,
and includes fields relating to weather conditions, and accident type. However, in order to determine the
number of casualties relating to fog, pile-ups and rear-end collision, as requested, a specific analysis of the
database will be required. Such an analysis will be conducted, and the results will be sent directly to the
Honourable Member once it is available.

However, the detailed information relating to weather conditions and accident type is not available for all
Member States. Moreover, until now, no data from candidate countries is available in the CARE data base.

As regards the harmonisation of the legislation concerning the use of fog lamps in the Community,
the Commission has no plans to bring forward any proposals, as this is an area that is currently subject to
subsidiarity, and hence remains within the competence of the Member States.

An expert working group of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, in which the
Commission is represented, is currently discussing proposals to amend the requirements for stop lamps to
indicate ‘emergency’ braking. The Automatic Rear Fog Flashlight (ARFF) is one of a number of ideas that
were put forward to this group a number of years ago. However, at that time there was very little support
for such systems. Recently, though, attitudes have changed and such systems are now being considered in
some detail. In their discussions, the group is considering issues such as the appearance of the signal
(e.g. increased intensity or area of illumination, flashing, colour, etc.), the circumstances under which the
device should operate (e.g. level of deceleration), and the effect that they may have within a mixed vehicle
fleet, especially on non-equipped vehicles. The Commission is following these discussions with interest and
will re-consider its position on this matter once the expert group has concluded their discussions.

(2003/C 137 E/221) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3374/02

by Jonas Sjöstedt (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(27 November 2002)

Subject: Marta Andreasen’s criticism of the accounting systems

Can the Commission state the reasons why Marta Andreasen has not been allowed to make public
statements concerning the Commission’s allegedly faulty accounting systems if the Commission now
considers, as it repeatedly states, that none of the points raised by Marta Andreasen reveals anything more
than what is already known?