The ten new member states due to join the European Union on 1 May 2004 are on course to meet the EU’s food safety standards, according to Health Commissioner David Byrne.

“Major progress has been made as a result of strong collaboration between the European Commission and the competent authorities of the new Member States,” he said.

Some food establishments, including processing plants, dairies and abattoirs, will need some transitional time to finish upgrading their standards, the European Commission said. During that time, their products will only be sold on the domestic market of the country concerned.

By 1 May all new member states are expected to have brought their national rules fully into line with the EU’s food and veterinary laws, although the Commission said a handful of implementation issues remain.

Additionally, the Commission made details available today on 37 new border inspection posts which will start operating on 1 May at the new borders to control incoming veterinary products from third countries.

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