The EPP Group today backed legislation establishing more and better controls and inspections throughout the food chain. The goal is to improve consumer trust in the products they receive and to avoid cases such as the horsemeat scandal that hit several EU countries in 2013 when food advertised as containing beef was found to contain horsemeat.
The legislation adopted today will apply to food, feed, organic production, plant health, pesticides, animal welfare and health, and protected geographical indications.
Stricter, more efficient, less bureaucratic and risk-based controls will be implemented in all sectors. Fraud will be punished with stricter penalties. With the new legislation in place, unannounced controls will become the norm.
Pilar Ayuso MEP, Rapporteur for the EPP Group, said: “The European Union has the strictest legislation in the world in terms of food safety, traceability, animal health, and animal welfare, but its enforcement must be monitored.”
“We need greater controls and a regime of more effective sanctions to deter law-breakers. Recent scandals in the food chain made it clear that sanctions were not enough”, she added.
“This regulation maintains uniform official controls throughout the European Union and will contribute to offering more security to citizens by making our food safer”, Ayuso concluded.
The agri-food industry is the second largest sector in the EU with total food chain production amounting to some €750 billion per year and employing over 48 million people, from primary production through to retail and catering.