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Guides on the Consumer policy of the EU.
EU pesticide review programme
The European Commission made today an important step forward in its efforts to ensure improved protection of human health and the environment, as it completed the review of existing pesticides that were on the market before 1993. This programme concerned about 1,000 substances, of which about 250 have passed the harmonised EU safety assessment. All reviewed pesticides have undergone a detailed risk evaluation with respect to their effects on humans and on the environment. This important achievement is the result of a considerable joint effort by the Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Member States.
CAP Health Check - briefing
EU agriculture ministers on 20 November reached political agreement on a 'Health Check' of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. The Health Check will modernise, simplify and streamline the CAP and remove restrictions on farmers, thus helping them to respond better to signals from the market and to face new challenges. Among a range of measures, the agreement abolishes arable set-aside, increases milk quotas gradually leading up to their abolition in 2015, and converts market intervention into a genuine safety net. Ministers also agreed to increase modulation, whereby direct payments to farmers are reduced and the money transferred to the Rural Development Fund. This will allow a better response to the new challenges and opportunities faced by European agriculture, including climate change, the need for better water management, the protection of biodiversity, and the production of green energy. EU Member States will also be able to assist dairy farmers in sensitive regions adjust to the new market situation.
EU School Fruit Scheme - briefing
The European Union's Agriculture Council on 19 November reached political agreement on a European Commission proposal for a European Union-wide scheme to provide fruit and vegetables to school children.
EC proposal for protection of animals at the time of killing - briefing
The European Commission adopted on 18 September a proposal for an EU regulation that improves the conditions for animals at the time of slaughter or killing and ensures that they are humanely treated. To simplify the existing legislation and bring it into line with food hygiene regulations, the proposal integrates welfare considerations into the design of slaughterhouses and requires the regular monitoring of the efficiency of stunning techniques. Slaughterhouses must appoint a specific person responsible for animal welfare and ensure that their staff is properly trained and certified. Manufacturers of stunning equipment will have to provide instructions for ensuring proper animal welfare and a number of technical standards are updated in view of scientific progress. EU Member States will have to create research based centres to provide permanent and competent support to official inspectors. The competent authorities will also be more accountable to the public when they perform mass killings in case of contagious diseases. Every year, nearly 360 million pigs, sheep, goats and cattle as well as several billion poultry are killed in EU slaughterhouses for their meat. In addition, about 25 million animals are killed for their fur. The control of contagious diseases may also require the culling of thousands to millions of other animals.
Action Plan for the implementation of the EU's animal health strategy - briefing
The European Commission adopted on 10 September a Communication laying down the Action Plan for the implementation of the EU's animal health strategy. The Action Plan contains the key actions and their indicative timetable. These actions are structured around four pillars. Within the pillar "Prioritisation of EU intervention" the Commission will develop profiling and categorisation of animal disease risks by 2010 which will provide the basis to prioritise actions in order to ensure that interventions and resources can be focused on diseases of high relevance. The pillar "EU Animal Health framework" provides for a proposal for an EU Animal Health Law by 2010 to replace the current series of policy areas with a single regulatory framework. A legislative proposal concerning a harmonised EU framework for responsibility and cost-sharing in detecting and eradicating diseases is planned by 2011. In terms of "Prevention, surveillance and preparedness" the Action Plan focuses on an overall reinforcement of biosecurity measures. It explores the scope to make the fullest use possible of Community funds when addressing actions which will have a positive impact on animal health. Disease surveillance will be stepped up and traceability will be strengthened by 2011. A legislative proposal for better border biosecurity will be adopted by 2010. Finally, the pillar "Science, innovation and research" will provide for enhanced cooperation between key players such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and Joint Research Centre (JRC).
New rules on pesticide residues to make EU food safer
A new regulation revising and simplifying the rules pertaining to pesticide residues enters into force on 1 September 2008.
EU wine market reform - guide
The Council of Ministers on 29 April formally adopted a wide-ranging reform of the Common Market Organisation for wine, on which agriculture ministers reached a political agreement in December. The changes will bring balance to the wine market, phase out wasteful and expensive market intervention measures and allow the budget to be used for more positive, proactive measures which will boost the competitiveness of European wines. The reform provides for a fast restructuring of the wine sector in that it includes a voluntary, three-year grubbing-up scheme to provide an alternative for uncompetitive producers and to remove surplus and uncompetitive wine from the market. Subsidies for crisis distillation and potable alcohol distillation will be phased out and the money, allocated in national envelopes, can be used for measures like wine promotion on third country markets, innovation, restructuring and modernisation of vineyards and cellars. The reform will ensure environmental protection in wine-growing regions, safeguard traditional and well-established quality policies and simplify labelling rules, for the benefit of producers and consumers alike. The very restrictive planting rights system will also be abolished at EU level from 1 January 2016 onwards. The European Commission will now begin the process of adopting the detailed implementing regulations to allow the reform to enter into force on 1 August 2008.
Feed Marketing - guide
The European Commission adopted on 4 March 2008 a proposal for an EU Regulation which considerably simplifies the existing procedures for labelling and marketing animal feed and pet food, while making the overall system more efficient and maintaining the same high level of protection of animal health, animal welfare and public health. The EU livestock sector, which contributes to almost half of all EU agricultural output, will benefit from modernised rules that will help promote its competitiveness. The freedom of the feed industry to innovate will also be boosted by these changes - the compound feed and pet food industry represents a turnover of roughly EUR 50 billion in the EU. Finally, the 62 million households in the EU that own pets will be in a better position to evaluate the real content of the pet food they buy.
Safe Novel Foods in the EU
The European Commission on 14 January 2008 adopted a proposal to revise the Novel Foods Regulation with a view to improving the access of new and innovative foods to the EU market, while still maintaining a high level of consumer protection. Under the draft Regulation, novel foods would be subject to a simpler and more efficient authorisation procedure, which should enable safe, innovative foods to reach the EU market faster. Moreover, special provisions are made for foods which have not been traditionally sold in the EU but which have a safe history of use in third countries, in order to create a more proportionate system and positive environment for trade. The proposal also sets out certain data protection rules, which aim to protect newly developed foodstuffs once authorised, and encourage companies to invest in developing new types of foods and food production techniques.
Revised Common Market Organisation for wine: main points
European Union agriculture ministers on 19 December 2007 agreed reform of the Common Market Organisation (CMO) for wine. The changes are aimed at bringing balance to the wine market, phasing out wasteful and expensive market intervention measures and allowing the budget to be used for more positive, proactive measures which will boost the competitiveness of European wines. The reform provides for a fast restructuring of the wine sector in that it includes a voluntary, three-year grubbing-up scheme to remove surplus and uncompetitive wine from the market. Subsidies for crisis distillation and potable alcohol distillation will be phased out and the money, allocated in national envelopes, can be used for measures like wine promotion on third country markets, innovation, restructuring and modernisation of vineyards and cellars. The reform will ensure environmental protection in wine-growing regions, safeguard traditional and well-established quality policies and simplify labelling rules, for the benefit of producers and consumers alike. The reform, which is budget neutral, will enter into force on 1 August 2008.
EU Health Check to streamline Common Agricultural Policy
The European Commission on 20 November 2007 unveiled its blueprint for streamlining and further modernising the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy. The so-called 'Health Check' of the CAP will build on the approach which began with the 2003 reforms, improve the way the policy operates based on the experience gathered since 2003 and make it fit for the new challenges and opportunities in an EU of 27 Member States in 2007. The reforms have modernised the CAP, but the Health Check represents a perfect opportunity to take the policy review further. It will ask three main questions: how to make the direct aid system more effective and simpler; how to make market support instruments, originally conceived for a Community of Six, relevant in the world we live in now; and how to confront new challenges, from climate change, to biofuels, water management and the protection of biodiversity. Today's Communication is designed to kick off a wide-ranging six-month consultation. Next spring, the Commission will return with legislative proposals, which it hopes will be adopted by agriculture ministers by the end of 2008 and could come into effect immediately. During 2007 and 2008 the Commission will develop its approach to the budgetary review 2008/2009. The Health Check constitutes a preparatory action within this framework, without prejudging the outcome of this review. It fine-tunes the 2003 reforms and contributes to the discussion on future priorities in the field of agriculture.
Bluetongue disease and the EU - guide
Bluetongue is a non-contagious, insect-transmitted, viral disease of domestic and wild ruminants.
EU food quality label systems
in 1992, the European Union created systems known as PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) and TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) to promote and protect food products.
European Community Animal Health Policy 2007-13
The European Commission adopted on 19 September 2007 a Communication setting out the EU's animal health strategy for 2007-13. The Communication provides the framework for animal health measures over the next 6 years, taking into account extensive feedback from stakeholders and potential challenges in the future. The Commission's aim is to put greater focus on precautionary measures, disease surveillance, controls and research, in order to reduce the incidence of animal disease and minimise the impact of outbreaks when they occur. The Communication also stresses that all those with an interest in animal health with have clear responsibilities in ensuring that the goals of the new strategy are met, so that the EU's animal health policy is as robust, efficient and effective as possible in the years ahead. It also highlights the need for an integrated approach in animal health policy-making, inter-linking it with other Community policies.
EU reform of the wine market
The European Commission on 4 July adopted proposals for a wide-ranging reform of the EU's Common Market Organisation for wine. This aims to increase the competitiveness of EU producers, win back markets, balance supply and demand, simplify the rules, preserve the best traditions of EU wine production, reinforce the social fabric of rural areas and respect the environment. Under the proposals, all the inefficient market support measures – various aids for distillation, private storage aid, export refunds – would be abolished from day one. The addition of sugar to enrich wine – chaptalisation – would be banned, and aid for must for enrichment, introduced to compensate for the higher cost compared to chaptalisation, would also be abolished. Crisis distillation would be replaced by two crisis management measures, paid for from national financial envelopes. Much more money would go into promoting EU wine, particularly on third country markets. For a five-year transitional period, planting restrictions would be kept in place and uncompetitive producers would have the possibility to leave the sector with attractive financial support. After 2013, restrictions on planting would be lifted to allow competitive producers to expand their production if they so choose. Labelling rules would be made simpler, certain wine making practices accepted by all producer countries in the International Organisation of Vine and Wine would be adopted by the EU and quality policy would be based on a geographical origin approach. EU Member States would receive a national financial envelope and a menu of actions to allow them to take measures best suited to the local situation. More money would go into Rural Development to fund measures including the setting up of young wine producers and environmental protection.
Food Safety in the European Union
Consumer confidence in the safety of food products has sometimes been shaken in recent years by the cumulative impacts of food-related health crises. Responding to the challenge, the European Union has put in place a comprehensive strategy to restore people's belief in the safety of their food "from the farm to the fork".
Agriculture in the European Union
The aim of the common agricultural policy is to provide farmers with a reasonable standard of living, consumers with quality food at fair prices and to preserve our rural heritage. The policy has evolved to meet society’s changing needs, so that food safety, preservation of the environment, value for money and agriculture as a source of crops to convert to fuel have acquired steadily growing importance.