Straight talking from CIAA

Related tags Ciaa European union

As Greece picks up the reins to the presidency of the European
Union, the European Confederation of the Food and Drink industries
has used the opportunity to highlight a number of key issues that
are set to have an impact on European food and drink manufacturers
in the next few months.

As Greece picks up the reins to the presidency of the European Union, the European Confederation of the Food and Drink industries (CIAA) has used the opportunity to highlight a number of key issues that are set to have an impact on European food and drink manufacturers in the next few months.

In a memorandum to the Greek Presidency, the CIAA discussed a range of issues including the impending CAP reform, political enlargement, GMOs, food safety and innovation.

According to the CIAA, if the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations are completed as planned at the end of 2004, the new common agricultural agreement could enter into force as of 2006. Without a substantial reform of the CAP, which the CIAA maintains should make EU agricultural products more competitive and guarantee its supply, there will be increased pressure on European food and drink products both on the internal and external markets.

The CIAA is set to closely follow discussions under the Greek presidency on the Commission's legislative proposals. These proposals, which follow on from the Commission communication on the Mid-term Review of Agenda 2000, are expected at the end of January.

Moving to food safety, the CIAA stressed that the enlargement of the European Union should not compromise food safety. "As of their accession, the new member states must ensure that products which are put on the EU market, or exported to third countries, meet EU food safety standards.

From now until 1 May 2004, a considerable effort is needed, in particular to make the administrative structures of the future member states more efficient and to ensure that the new external borders of the EU are respected,"​ the CIAA wrote in the memo.

Turning to the thorny issue of the labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), largely unpopular within the food industry, the CIAA wrote of the Commission's recent legislative proposals: " These requirements will not only be impossible to implement by industry, but they will also cause serious difficulties for control authorities."

The CIAA is calling on the Greek Presidency to consider the "only viable alternative: a labelling system based on the detectability in the final product of the protein or DNA resulting from the genetic modification".

On the topic of innovation, the CIAA highlighted the fact that the food industry should be able to benefit from the results of its research, in particular in the area of nutrition andhealth, in order to meet consumer demands.

As such, the confederation has invited the Greek Presidency to progress with the setting up of a community framework for health claims and fortified products. One of the objectives of the Commission's proposals in theseareas, in addition to consumer protection, should be to stimulateinnovation in the food sector, claims the CIAA​.

With a nod to environmental issues, the CIAA stressed that the food and drink industries in the EU "have made sustainability one of their prioritiesand are committed to continually improving their performance in the areas of sustainable development".​ Following the first global report of the food industry which was presented at the Johannesburg Summit, the CIAA has started collecting data on progress made by industries in the EU, with the ultimate aim of communicating its findings to the public.

Related topics Market Trends Food Safety & Quality

Related news