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MEPs call for tougher measures to fix food fraud

15-Jan-2014

MEPs have called for extra measures to tackle food fraud following last year’s horse meat crisis, in a non-legislative resolution passed on Tuesday.

The European Parliament agreed that the lack of harmonisation across the European Union made it difficult to prevent and police food fraud risks on an EU-wide basis.

“Unlike the US, the European Union still has no common definition of ‘food fraud’, which has long been a blind spot of European institutions,” said rapporteur Esther De Lange. “Food fraud cases are the rotten apples that spoil matters for all those farmers, intermediaries and individuals who do respect the rules and destroy consumer confidence in food and food information.”

Her own-initiative report was approved by 659 votes to 24, with 8 abstentions. It calls for a harmonised definition of food fraud, and stronger authority for the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), which carries out inspections.

It also backs country of origin labelling for meat and fish products, including processed products, and wider use of DNA testing for meat. MEPs also backed higher penalties for food fraud if the fraud endangers public health.

“The first problem is a lack of comparable data, which means that it is difficult to get an exact picture of the problem,” De Lange said. “…However, we know that we are talking about billions of euros here. Organised crime is clearly getting interested in this.”

The full text is available here .

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