TTIP threatens EU food safety and animal welfare standards, claim NGOs

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

The report claims EU rules could be watered down to smooth the way for US imports
The report claims EU rules could be watered down to smooth the way for US imports

Related tags: Animal welfare, European union

The EU-US trade deal currently under negotiation in Brussels may threaten animal welfare and food safety in Europe, a coalition of NGOs has claimed in a new report.

Friends of the Earth Europe has published an analysis of EU proposals for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations on food safety and animal welfare, in conjunction with the Center for Food Safety, GRAIN, Compassion in World Farming and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

“Analysis of the draft published by the EU raises a number of concerns about the impact on food safety and animal welfare,”the report​ said.

“These include: the priority given to maximizing trade, the shift of power from national governments to a new trade committee, the threat to the ability of local authorities to set higher standards, the risk of minimal health and safety checks for novel foods (including GMOs, cloned animals, and nano materials), non-binding provisions for animal welfare, and the required adoption of international food standards established through the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Novel food imports?

In particular, it argues that the Commission’s proposal could undermine local or national measures introduced to raise safety and animal welfare standards, and claims the deal could open the EU to imports of unregulated nanomaterials and novel foods, for which the US lacks specific regulation.

The European Public Health Alliance said in a statement: “The European Commission has repeatedly committed itself to high food safety standards in the EU. However, this is now threatened by TTIP, which seeks to remove differences in current rules between the EU and the US that are seen as ‘trade-distorting’ either by harmonisation or mutual recognition.”

The Commission made its draft proposals​ public at the beginning of January. This latest report urges the US to follow Europe’s example and publish its negotiating text to provide “a more complete picture of the potential impacts of TTIP on our respective food systems”.

Jobs and growth

Supporters of the proposals, who include the European food and beverage trade organisation FoodDrinkEurope, say the TTIP deal would create jobs and spur growth​ in both the EU and the US.

According to data​ sourced by Corporate Europe Observatory, the agribusiness and food sector has had more contact with DG Trade around the preparation of the TTIP negotiations than any other, accounting for about 20% of all lobbying activity. Preparatory talks have included companies like Nestlé and Mondelez, and FoodDrinkEurope, among others.

Protests

Friends of the Earth previously has called the TTIP deal a trojan horse​ for GM imports, and about 300 protestors gathered at the European Commission yesterday (February 4) to protest the negotiations, accompanied by an eight-metre-tall wooden horse.

Related topics: Policy, Food safety

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