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EU food import controls are too complicated

Fit for purpose but with a fragmented and complicated nature means Europe's food import controls are inconsistently applied across the economic bloc. This is the outcome of a report from the European Commission (EC).

To provide greater coherence the European Commission advocates a more ‘holistic’ approach and calls for the streamlining of the complex framework governing scrutiny of food, animal feed, animals and plants.
 
The body sees possibilities in improvements of legislation and safety tools such as the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). It also thinks that better allocation of resources is also vital to boost the efficacy of the structure.
 
Despite the critics the EC stressed that the current system was “effective" in ensuring consistent scrutiny across the EU’s 27 member states.
 
Its proposals should be viewed as enhancements rather that a call to overall the system, it said. The EC is aiming to present its proposals to the European Parliament and Council during 2012.
 
The European Union (EU) is the world's largest importer of food and animal feed with imports of €85 billion for the period 2007-2009. Described as “pivotal to EU prosperity”, the food sector is the bloc’s largest manufacturing sector with a global annual turnover reaching €900bn, said the EC.
 
 

Dick Ziggers

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