CAP emphasis on safety
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CTA. 2002. CAP emphasis on safety. Agritrade, June 2002. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52758
Food safety and the promotion of quality food...
Food safety and the promotion of quality food production are now central objectives of the CAP said Commissioner Fischler when addressing the CIAA European Food Summit on April 12th 2002. The EU's new emphasis on rural development was seeing incentives provided for the development of quality food products which required new investment. This new focus on rural development measures is seen as an important means of making European agriculture more competitive. This needs to be seen against the background of the growing importance of value added food products in EU exports of food and agricultural products. Over the last 10 years, EU exports of processed food products have more than doubled, while commodity exports have increased by less than half. Taking up this theme, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, David Byrne highlighted how this new EU approach to food safety called for the uniform application of rules and a truly level playing field within the internal market. He highlighted how the EU's approach was not one of regulation for regulation's sake, but a genuine desire to reduce risks to animal and consumer health. Against this background he dismissed allegations that the EU's new emphasis on food safety was simply disguised protectionism. Overseeing the new Europe wide system would be the European Food Safety Agency whose job it would be to provide independent scientific advice in support of national food authorities. Comment: The modification of existing arrangements to allow the uniform application of rules across the EU could create problems for third country suppliers who have previously been supplying individual national EU markets. For example, the introduction of zero tolerance of Citrus Black Spot, a fungal growth periodically affecting citrus production in ACP countries, may well be a direct consequence of the harmonisation of EU regulations to allow the uniform application of regulations from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. This is now threatening the commercial profitability of citrus exports from southern Africa to the EU. Commissioner Byrne insists that all food safety measures are taken solely on the basis of food safety concerns. How they are applied in practice may come to constitute unnecessary barriers to ACP exports to the EU. This is an area where careful monitoring will be required and where clear and transparent consultative mechanisms will need to be set up, perhaps allowing recourse to the objective and independent scientific assessments of the EFSA.