HEALTH/CONSUMERS : FOOD FRAUD: COMMISSION WANTS TOUGHER PENALTIES.

Position:European Commission
 
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After setting up large-scale DNA testing, the European Commission will propose this spring to beef up the financial penalties applied to food fraud like the recent horsemeat scandal. Commissioner Tonio Borg made the announcement during a debate in the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment and Public Health (ENVI), on 28 February. "The tests carried out in the case of the horsemeat scandal revealed 1% fraudulent labelling. Some 6,600 tonnes of meat were taken off the market. [ ] We have to learn from these events. The Commission is determined to restore trust in the food chain as quickly as possible," he explained.

The commissioner for health and consumer policy outlined to MEPs some of the measures that could be included in the package on animal and plant health, set to be presented in April or May. For intentional violations of food chain rules, the Commission is considering asking the member states to apply financial penalties proportional to the financial gain sought by the fraudster. The current EU rules provide for "appropriate and dissuasive" sanctions without providing any further details, giving member states considerable leeway.

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The Commission may also propose compulsory monitoring when a problem is detected in a member state. "The forthcoming proposal will include not only the possibility for the Commission to require member states to implement...

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