The European Commission wants to act harder on fraud with food products. Commissioner Tonio Borg wants the fines to be high enough to scare off potential fraudsters, he said at the presentation of a series of measures to make food safer.
More unannounced controls
At the centre of the plans are more targeted controls. To finance those, more organisations will have to contribute. “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”, said the commissioner.
The new rules follow an approach that is more focused on managing risks, so authorities can use their resources for the most relevant issues: for example a central system for tracking and managing animal diseases and for handling the risk for public safety in a better way. This has to be combined with a better identification and registration by farmers and veterinaries.
The EU also wants to obligate governments to perform a minimum number of unannounced controls, to check if labels and contents match.
Contribution obligation for players in the food chain
A more expanded contribution obligation will also be introduced. Soon more parts of the food chain, who at the moment carry none of the costs, will have to contribute financially. An exception will be made for micro-enterprises, so their competitiveness will not be affected.
The whole package of proposals is yet to be approved by other European institutions, such as the Parliament and the Council. It is expected to be in effect from 2016.