New rules were officially adopted by the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, this week to make the European food chain safer. Among other changes, they will entail more inspections throughout the food chain – from farm to fork.
Already agreed informally by the Members of the European Parliament and the European Council, the new rules aim to improve food traceability, combat fraud, and restore the trust of consumers in the integrity of the food chain.
Parliament agreed to more comprehensive, integrated and effective controls covering the safety of animal feed and food, including veterinary and plant health requirements, organic production and protected geographical indication rules.
“After the horse meat scandal, consumers had serious questions about the traceability of food, and the integrity of the meat supply chain,” said rapporteur Karin Kadenbach (Social Democratic Party of Austria). “The European Parliament strove to address these concerns and to end up with a text that allows competent authorities to combat fraudulent practices effectively.”
The agreement allows for unannounced, risk-based controls throughout the food chain, and will also cover import conditions for animals and products imported from third countries.
For the first time, whistle-blowers will be able to disclose information about abuses, without jeopardizing their own position, said Kadenbach.
“I am really proud of what we have put together here,” she added. “I would like to thank all the participants. It was sometimes a very painful process, but I believe that the end product we have created here is a very successful collaboration. Europe is a bit safer again.”