The European Commission has approved € 24 million to go towards twenty programmes in eleven member states.
Focused solely on the internal market, Brussels decided four years ago to assist in financing measures that provide information on, or promote agricultural products and food in the EU-25.
Measures covered include public relations, promotional or publicity actions, and in particular those that highlight the advantages of EU products, especially in terms of quality, hygiene, food safety, nutrition and labelling.
Funding will also cover information campaigns on the EU system of protected designations of origin (PDO), protected geographical indications (PGI) and traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG), as well as information on EU quality and labelling systems.
According to the Commission, the € 24 million represents 50 per cent of the overall required costs for the new measures, with the remainder to be met by the professional/inter-branch organisations that originally fielded the measures to Brussels, together with contributions from the member states concerned.
Three different European organisations proposed promotional efforts for eggs, a sign that the industry is still keen to boost the image of this common ingredient knocked by links to outbreaks of the harmful salmonella bacteria.
The UK Food Standards Agency and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) recently announced that following recent investigations since 2002 into more than 80 outbreaks of Salmonella enteritidis, with 2000 confirmed and an estimated 6000 potential cases, they have decided to step up action against the common bacteria, many of which have been linked to Spanish eggs used in the catering trade.
The UK is still recovering from wide outbreaks of Salmonella enteritidis in the 1980s that knocked the local egg industry however figures now show that the number of cases in England and Wales has decreased significantly, from 16,047 cases in 1998 to 9757 cases in 2003 mainly due to industry control programmes, including the vaccination of chicken flocks.
According to the British Egg Information Service total production in the UK is around 8,800 tonnes per annum with a current value in the region of £16.3 million.