Tougher EU food inspections on the menu
(STRASBOURG) - The EU Parliament adopted plans Wednesday to tighten up official food inspections, aiming to improve food traceability, combat fraud and restore consumer trust in the integrity of the food chain.
The legislation is a response particularly to the horse meat scandal, which raised serious questions about the traceability of food, and the integrity of the meat supply chain. It provides a comprehensive, integrated and more effective control system in the areas of food and feed safety rules, veterinary and plant health requirements, organic production and protected geographical indication rules.
The agreement negotiated between MEPs and the Council of Ministers provides for:
- a comprehensive scope, encompassing the whole agri-food chain: controls on food, feed, plant health, pesticides, animal welfare, geographical indications, organic farming,
- unannounced, risk-based controls in all sectors,
- better enforcement against fraudulent or deceptive practices,
- import conditions for animals and products imported from third countries, and
- European Commission controls in EU member states and in third countries.
Recent food fraud scandals such as the horsemeat scandal have shown the need for more effective action on the part of enforcement authorities to protect consumers and honest operators alike, from the risks which may arise from breaches of the rules along the food chain.
The new rules follow a risk-based approach, thus allowing competent authorities to focus their resources on the more relevant issues (all risks considered and not only risks for health).
Further information, European Parliament