The Committee on International Trade has published its report following the official mission to ItalyPort of Genoa and EXPO Milano. It notes, “with the EU being the world’s biggest trader in agri-food products and their leading importer from developing countries, the visit permitted to focus on the impact of the Union’s commercial policy on food security and safety, including FTAs and trade legislation on market access, safeguards, customs, trade facilitation external tariffs and quotas, autonomous trade preferences and protection of geographical indicators.”The joint AGRI, INTA and ITRE Press Conference also highlighted the need to strengthen rules-based WTO system and finalise the Doha Round.
As part of its support for the development of self-assessment systems in ACP countries, EDES has been requested to provide technical assistance and support in the design, publishing and provision of specific guides by sector. 12 self-assessment sector guides have been supported to date. They concern various sectors: Cameroon: Coffee industry; Kenya: Fish industries, Passion Fruit and peas / beans; Senegal: Fish industry and Mango; Ghana: Cocoa industry; Maurice: Pineapple chains and Poultry industries; Côte d'Ivoire: Fresh mango and dried mango sector; Botswana: Livestock sector; Zambia: Honey industry.
The environment, public health and food safety (ENVI) and the agriculture and rural affairs (AGRI) committees have backed plans to ban the cloning of farm animals, as well as preventing their descendants and clone-derived products appearing in the EU market. ENVI co-rapporteur Renate Sommer, said, "Due to the negative effects on animal welfare, cloning for farming purposes is rejected by a large majority of consumers. Furthermore, we do not need cloning to ensure meat supplies in the EU.(…) the ban should apply not only to clones themselves but also to their reproductive material (semen and embryos), their descendants and any products derived from them, including imports." The report calls for import certificates for animals, including animal germinal products and food and feed of animal origin coming into the European market to prove that they are not clones or the descendants of cloned animals.
At the 3397th Council meeting Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 16 June 2015, the Presidency briefed the Council on the International Year of Plant Health 2020. At the ninth session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-9) of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) it was proposed to examine the possibility of declaring an International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). A study concluded that an IYPH would be possible at the earliest in the year 2020. Several member states and the Commission agreed with the Presidency that the IYPH would have a substantial impact on public and political awareness of plant health.
The 3397th Council meeting Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 16 June 2015 took stock of Commission reports regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin for milk and dairy products and certain types of meat, unprocessed foods and single ingredient products. Some member states supported the principle of country of origin indication, while others considered that the benefit of providing this additional information to the consumer should be balanced with the cost of the measures for the agri-food sectors concerned. Two reports regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin for: (i) types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry, milk and milk used as an ingredient in dairy products; (ii) unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food.
The 3397th Council meeting Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 16 June 2015 reached agreement on a general approach on a proposal for a regulation on organic farming. The proposal is aimed at revising the existing legislation on organic production and labelling of organic products so as to remove obstacles to the development of organic production in the EU, guarantee fair competition for farmers and operators and improve consumer confidence in organic products. The agreement on organic production and labelling of organic products will make it possible to launch negotiations between the Parliament and the Council with a view to reaching a political agreement between the EU institutions.
French and UK supermarkets are amongst the first in Europe to lead the example by giving unsold food from supermarkets to non-profit organisations. The French government recently voted to stop supermarkets wasting food, as they will now have to give the food to charities or farms. In the UK, the largest supermarket chain, Tesco will be giving away food it otherwise would dispose of to women's refuge centers and children breakfast clubs. The move will help address the massive amount of food wasted globally each year, while also tackling problem of hunger. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published the following fact in October 2014: If the amount of food wasted each year -1.3 billion tons- was just cut in half, everyone would be fed.
The Council of the EU’s Permanent Representatives Committee approved a final compromise text on new EU rules for novel foods. The text includes the European Parliament's amendments that were accepted by the Council. The compromise text is deemed to be a significant improvement on the current rules on novel foods and takes into consideration: (i) novel foods will be available on the EU market, while preserving the high level of protection of human health; (ii) generic authorisations (i.e via any food business operator) are proposed, as opposed to centralised EU-level procedures (which previously authorized the provider as opposed to the food product) to cut the current administrative burdens; (iii) facilitating EU market access for traditional foods from third countries, once the applicant can demonstrate consistent food safety for at least 25 years.
A delegation from Rwanda – comprised of 15 horticulture companies and two high-level representatives of the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) - shall visit the Netherlands for a B2B trip on the sidelines of the ‘No More Food to Waste’ conference, 15-17 June. Rwandan State Minister of Agriculture & Animal Resources, Mrs. Gerardine Mukeshimana led the delegation and was also kenote speaker at the conference. Minister Mukeshimana spoke of the aim to reduce food losses by bringing together global stakeholders from knowledge institutes, governments, NGO’s and the private sector. The program also included company visits, workshops and a B2B session, organized by the Netherlands-African Business Council in cooperation with Greenport Holland International.
The European Commission shall partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and establish a new fund to tackle the global challenge of undernutrition in six countries: Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Laos and Niger. EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, confirmed the EU’s commitment in supporting partner countries to reduce the number of children who are chronically undernourished by at least seven million by 2025 and its commitment of €23.5 million for the new initiative: the National Information Platforms on Nutrition (NIPN). The initiative will provide partner countries with the tools to better monitor progress in the reduction of undernutrition, improve information and analysis about nutrition, and enable partner countries to develop well-informed and effective national nutrition policies as a result.