European Commission reveals food controls plan

The European Commission (EC) has unveiled plans to strengthen food controls in light of the horsemeat issue.

A package of measures was revealed earlier this week by the EC in a bid to make food controls stronger and to simplify legislation.

In a speech made on Monday (6 May) Commissioner Borg said that “smarter rules for safer food” would be adopted in the European Union. He also explained that sanctions imposed on those committing food fraud would be equal to what they gain as a result of committing the illegal act. “Crime must not pay. If penalties are low, it does pay,” he said.

It was also proposed that the EC gain powers to make member states carry out testing in suspected food fraud cases, rather than tests being recommended. Member states will also be urged to introduce random checks on the food supply chain in order to minimise future risk.

Borg said: “Europe has the highest food safety standards in the world. However, the recent horsemeat scandal has shown that there is room for improvement, even if no health risk emerged. Today’s package of reforms comes at an opportune moment as it shows that the system can respond to challenges; it also takes on board some of the lessons learned.”

A single piece of legislation will also be introduced to cover animal health and will be based on the principle of “prevention is better than cure”. The aim of the legislation is to improve standards and provide a singular system to “better detect” and control disease, tackle health, food and feed safety risks.