Document type Written answer to question E-004070/2022 given by the European Commission
Authors: Question: Tilly Metz (Verts/ALE). Answer: Mrs Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission
Question: Foetal bovine serum (FBS) is routinely added to cell culture media in research and testing. FBS is produced from blood collected from bovine foetuses after the uterus has been removed from the slaughtered dam, and foetuses may experience suffering due to the use of invasive collection methods. It is estimated that between 600 000 and 800 000 litres of FBS are produced globally every year, which equates to between 1 and 2 million foetuses, but there is a lack of accurate data on the production of FBS in the EU.
1. Does the Commission know how many bovine foetuses are used for the production of FBS in the EU each year?
2. Does it know how many facilities collect bovine foetal material in the EU, and in which Member States they are located?
3. Can it explain what measures are currently being taken to ensure that foetal suffering is reduced to a minimum, for example by using appropriate killing methods, as mentioned in the 2017 European Food Safety Authority report on animal welfare aspects in respect of the slaughter or killing of pregnant livestock animals?
Answer: 1. The Commission does not have information on the annual production of foetal bovine serum (FBS) in the EU. FBS is considered an animal by-product and is subject to rules laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 (‘Animal by-products Regulation’). That regulation does not require collection of data on the production of animal by-products in the EU.
2. FBS is collected in slaughterhouses but the Commission does not have this information on their number and location. Member States are responsible for the implementation of the above EU law. Therefore, Member States, which authorise collection of FBS, may keep the aforementioned information on the production of FBS. An approved slaughterhouse may perform any slaughtering operation, including production of animal by-products.
3. All animals in the EU are slaughtered in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1099/2009 to prevent suffering of animals during slaughtering.