FOOD SAFETY AND QUALITY: Towards EXPO Milano 2015
11/11/2014 (European Parliament)
Expo 2015 will be an extraordinary universal event displaying tradition, creativity and innovation in the food-related sectors from research to business. It will bring new light on the new global possibilities whose common core is the principle that everyone on the planet must have access to healthy, safe and sufficient food.
The genuine quality and availability of agricultural foodstuffs is also a valuable economic aspect in the EU and beyond. The European food and drink industry provides for a turnover of over 1,000 billion € and is the largest manufacturing sector in the EU. The sector employs more than 4 million European citizens among almost 300.000 companies. Food and drink consumption represents more than 14% of the average EU household expenditure.
It is because of the importance of the food and drink sector for its whole economy and for the health of its citizens that the EU is continuously revising and refining its legislative acquis on the matter, and a brand new five-year term is about to begin: what’s next?
PANEL 1: Labels on Food Products: Informing the Consumer or Judging the Food?
Good labelling is a key element to provide consumers with all necessary information to make their choices. But should labelling just be limited to provide elements for “well informed choices”, or should it instead go beyond and judge food nutritive values and the consequences of its consumption? And if so, by which general standards? To what extent current EU law allows for misuses and abuses of labelling provisions in order to raise market access barriers?
PANEL 2: Mandatory Origin Provisions: What the Sector Expects from the New Commission Reports
In its report on the mandatory indication of the country of origin for meat (published in December 2013), the Commission foresaw that in case of the introduction of mandatory origin labelling indicating the Member State, additional operating costs would range from 15% up to 50%. Additional traceability costs are estimated in the range of 3%-10% of the total production costs. 90% of these costs is estimated to be passed onto to the consumer and 10% to the producer.
What will be then the impact estimated by these new reports on the costs of each food category? Who will bear its burden? How would similar provisions affect big corporations vs. small and medium enterprises? And what would be the impact on niche productions?
PANEL 3: Through the Food Supply Chain towards EXPO2015: Setting the Priorities for the Next Legislature
Expo 2015 will be a unique opportunity for reflecting about how tradition, creativity and innovation interact in the food industry and how food and food issues affect the everyday life of all human beings. The core idea of EXPO2015 is that everyone on the planet should have access to food that is healthy, safe and sufficient: what lessons will we be able to draw from EXPO2015? What are the sector’s expectations for the next five legislative years? What are the consumers’? What are the goals of the new European Commission for the current legislature and what will be the European Parliament’s stand on these matters?