The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU (CIAA), together with the Danish Food and Drink Federation, this week submitted to the Danish authorities a memorandum summarising the industry position on the Presidency priorities in the field of food.
The CIAA maintains that the Danish Presidency is expected to be of key importance for the food sector. Conclusions of the negotiations for accession, the continuation of the reform process of the CAP, as well as food safety from "farm to table" and the European contribution to sustainable development, are at the top of the objectives of the Danish Presidency for the six months to come.
On the subject of enlargement, the CIAA has emphasised the importance of food safety.
"It is key that candidate countries integrate the food aspects of the Community Acquis prior to accession. For the CIAA, no derogation can be given in food safety. All food products to be sold in the EU or to be exported will have to correspond to Community standards."
Turning to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the Confederation wrote: "The reform of the CAP must guarantee industry access to competitive sources of quality raw materials. About 70 per cent of European agricultural production is used by the food industry. In this quality, the CIAA recalled its support to the continuation of the CAP reform with the double aim to have access to competitive sources of raw materials and to improve the quality and security of agricultural production."
On the subject of general food safety, the CIAA affirmed that "the actual setting up of the European Food Safety Authority as rapidly as possible is crucial for the CIAA". A process which seems to be taking far longer than anticipated.
Commenting on the proposed amendments to the EU legislation for the labelling of genetically modified foods (GMOs), much criticised by the food and drink industry as a whole, the CIAA hopes that discussions held during the Danish Presidency will "allow an evolution taken by the EP vote in plenary session on 3 July. For the food industry, traceability and labelling obligations must be based on the detectability principle of GMOs and GM-derived products. Rejecting this principle makes the measures impossible to apply in practice".
Turning to sustainable development, in light of the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in July 2002, the CIAA has elaborated a global food industry report on sustainable development, which outlines the progress made since the Earth Summit in Rio. The CIAA has launched a long term European initiative with the aim to establish common benchmarks on sustainability and measure the progress made.
The CIAA is the voice of the European food and drink industries and aims "to contribute to the development of a European and international regulatory and economic environment combining industry competitiveness, food safety and quality, consumer protection and respect for the environment".