Following the requests of many of my “non-EU” readers, I publish a brief recap of the new provisions of the Regulation…and some links to useful resources.
As of 13 December 2014, new EU food labeling rules are in force: from this date became applicable the Regulation (EU) n. 1169/2011 on food information to consumers, also known as FIC or FIR Regulation. The aim of the new rules is to ensure that consumers receive clearer, more comprehensive and accurate information on food content, helping them to make informed choices about what they eat. The new Regulation replaces the old Directive 2000/13/EU, which is now repealed.
Some of the key changes to the labeling rules are outlined below:
- Improved legibility of the information (minimum font size for mandatory information, now 1,2 mm in the most of cases);
Clearer and harmonised presentation of allergens (e.g. soy, nuts, gluten, lactose) for prepacked foods (emphasised by font, style or background colour) in the list of ingredients;
Mandatory allergen information for non-prepacked food, including those sold in restaurants and cafes;
Requirement of certain nutrition information for majority of prepacked processed foods (applicable from 13th December 2016);
Mandatory origin information for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry (Reg. (EU) n. 1337/2014);
Same labeling requirements for online, distance-selling or buying in a shop;
List of engineered nanomaterials in the ingredients.
Specific information on the vegetable origin of refined oils and fats;
Strengthened rules to prevent misleading practices;
Indication of substitute ingredient for ‘Imitation’ foods;
Clear indication of “formed meat” or “formed fish”;
Clear indication of defrosted products;
Clear indication of added water, especially in meat and fish products.
The Regulation was published three years ago and provides a transitional period for exhaustion of stocks for foods placed on the market or labeled before 13 December 2014 (but this does not includes labels).
Despite food business operators have been given three years to ensure a smooth transition towards the new labeling regime for prepacked and non-prepacked foods, the situation is quite to be clear, especially for non-prepacked foods, where there is not a full harmonization and the EU Commission left space to national legislation.
On this side, there is also an ongoing study on the feasibility of a EU database to facilitate the identification of all EU and national mandatory labeling rules in a simple way. This should offer a user-friendly tool for all food business operators and for SME’s, but it will not be ready at least until the second part of 2015.
Recently, on the DG SANCO website, were published Guidelines related to the indication of the presence of certain substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as described in Article 9.1(c) and listed in Annex II of the Regulation. The document is the subject of a public consultation that will end on 4th January 2015 and it covers also some aspects related to non-prepacked foods.
On 31st January 2013, the EU Commission published the first – and until now unique – document of clarification of some specific provisions: Questions and Answers on the application of the Regulation (EU) N° 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. More Q&A and guidelines documents are expected to be published in the next few months: they will cover different topics, in particular general labeling, nutrition labeling, the QUID (Quantitative Ingredients Declaration) and specific products’ type (i.e. meat and fish).
Frutarom BU Health, Switzerland, launches EFLA®sense, a new line of all-natural liquid exctracts, with sensory properties to boost flavor and health benefits in products such as beverages, confectionary, dairy, bakery and liquid dietary supplements.
The use of herbal extracts is an emerging ingredient trend for many market categories according to global product launch activity tracked by Innova Market Insights. There was a 4% increase in global tracked product launches containing herbal extracts in 2014 from 2013, with more future growth anticipated. Supplements was the most active market category for herbal extract applications in 2014, accounting for 11.5% of global product launch activity tracked, followed by Sauces & Seasonings (6.8%), Ready Meals (5.9%) and Soft Drinks (4.9%).
EFLA®sense line contains natural botanic extracts from flowers (including chamomile, elderflower and orange blossom); leaves (peppermint, lemon balm and sage); fruits and seeds (fennel and rose hips) and several herbal blends. These essences are obtained from traditional plants and meet the increasing consumer demand for health and wellness products and clean label. The new line is produced in Switzerland through a gentle process that preserves the delicate flavors and aromatic properties of the ingredients.
“The natural line provides healthy solutions to naturally enhance the taste of finished foods with nuances of flowers, herbs and other essences of nature, says Yannick Capelle, Product Manager for Frutarom BU Health. “We offer unique natural herbal extracts to help our customers reinvent their products and add healthy sensory appeal.”
EFLA®sense also is especially suitable for liquid supplement products such as “shots,” an excellent bridge between the emerging need for health-promoting nutraceuticals and the inconvenience of swallowing a large number of tablets. The healthy flavor extracts have a typical dosage of 0.1-0.2% and are heat- and pH-stable.
“We carefully select our raw materials and rigorously control the supply chain and production to ensure high purity and quality of our plant extracts,” explains Capelle. “Frutarom BU health has strict protocols for quality and safety assessment in order to provide customers the best sustainable flavor line while enabling clean label capacity.
Probably what will be the most scaring and bizarre food safety issue of the year is coming from Mozambique, where few days ago at least 69 people died (and 196 were hospitalized) after drinking the traditional pombe beer during a funeral.
The Government declared three days of national mourning.
The beer was probably contaminated by crocodile’s bile and most of the people which consume the beverage in the morning stay healthy, while the ones which consume the beer in the afternoon fell ill: probably an intentional contamination happened when the mourners were at the cemetery, but the cause are still unknown.
It was the funeral of a newborn baby and also the child’s mother died.
Samples of blood and beer have been sent to the main hospital in the capital, Maputo, to be tested and to identify the poisonous substance: the situation is expected to worsen because the region did not have the necessary resources to deal with the scale of the poisoning.
Crocodile bile effects are quite controversial and it is quite impossible to find reliable scientific sources: for the East African tradition is a powerful venom, but it seems also that it could be “activated” only if mixed with some not better specified roots. The fact is that African crocodile hunters, especially on the shores of Lake Victoria, usually cut the liver of the beasts and burn it or throw into the water to avoid any risk.
Pombe beer is a traditional Mozambican beer, made from millet or corn flour and brewed for about two days. It is often served during ceremonies, and is sold in rural areas of the country. We can find a description of this beverage in the words of the British explorer Richard Francis Burton, that in late 1850′ traveled from Zanzibar to Lake Tanganyika and back, and then wrote “The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration”:
“In East Africa every man is his own maltster; and the “iwánzá” or public house of the village , is the common brewery. In some tribes, however, fermentation is the essential occupation of the women. The principal inebriant is a beer without hops, called pombe. This [beer] of the negro and negroid races dates from the age of Osiris: it is the buzah of Egypt and the farther East, and the merissa of the Upper Nile, the… xythum of the West, and the oala or boyaloa of the Kafirs and the South African races. The taste is somewhat like soured wort of the smallest description, but strangers, who at first dislike it exceedingly, are soon reconciled to it by the pleasurable sensations to which it gives rise. … When made thick with the grounds or sediment of grain it is exceedingly nutritious. Many a gallon must be drunk by the veteran malt-worm before intoxication; and individuals of both sexes sometimes live almost entirely upon pombe. It is usually made as follows: half of the grain–holcus, panicum, or both mixed–intended for the brew is buried or soaked in water till it sprouts; it is then pounded and mixed with the other half, also reduced to flour, and sometimes with a little honey. The compound is boiled twice or thrice in huge pots, strained, when wanted clear, through a bag of matting, and allowed to ferment: after the third day it becomes as sour as vinegar. … As these liquors consume a quantity of grain they are expensive; the large gourdful never fetches less than two khete or strings of beads, and strangers must often pay ten khete for the luxury.
The use of pombe is general throughout the country: the other inebriants are local. At the island and on the coast of Zanzibar, tembo, or toddy, in the West African dialects tombo, is drawn from the cocoa-tree; and in places a pernicious alcohol, called mvinyo, is extracted from it. The Wajiji and other races upon the Tanganyika Lake tap the Guinea-palm for a toddy, which, drawn grawn in unclean pots, soon becomes acid and acrid… “Máwá,” or plantain-wine, is highly prized because it readily intoxicates. The fruit, when ripe, is peeled and hand-kneaded with coarse green grass, in a wide-mouthed earthen pot, till all the juice is extracted: the sweet must is then strained through acornet of plantain-leaf into a clean gourd, which is but partially stopped. To hasten fermentation a handful of toasted or pounded grain is added: after standing for two days in a warm room the wine is ready for drinking.”
The count of deaths is now 73.
Norman Z. Nyazema, Ph.D., now a professor of pharmacology at the University of Limpopo in South Africa, told Forbes.com that he more likely suspects a common agricultural pesticide (organophosphate) as the agent that has killed the people in the villages of Chitima and Songo. He is one of the few scientist which studied “crocodile bile” effects, back in 1984-1985.
The venomous power of crocodile bile is not scientifically proven and mostly linked to local folklore. With the word “crocodile bile”, both the East African magic tradition and the Chinese one, seem to indicate a venomous mix of herbs and not the anatomic part of the crocodile.
In any case, the cause of the deaths is still unknown and we are waiting for the results of the analysis from the official lab in Mozambique.
In this report published last December the EU Commission Food and Veterinary office reported some significant weaknesses in the official controls system for food of non animal origin and seeds for sprouting in Germany. The inspection was carried out in November 2013, so it is quite old: I expected better answers to the E.Coli crisis in 2011) from the German competent authorities.
The report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audit in Germany, carried out from 12 to 22 November 2013 under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004.
The objectives of the audit were to evaluate the system of official controls in the area of food hygiene for primary production of Food of Non-Animal Origin (FNAO) and the system of official controls in the area of traceability and import of seeds intended for sprouting and sprouts, microbiological criteria for them and the approval of sprouting establishments.
It was concluded that there are CAs designated for the official controls on hygiene in primary production of FNAO. The existing legal framework for the risk categorisation of FBOs does not take into account all the establishments which produce food of plant origin. This means that the official control system for primary production of FNAO does not fully take into account all risk sources and covers only post-harvest activities in a limited number of establishments. These controls do not cover the observance of hygiene requirements listed in Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004. This means that the potential risks arising from microbiological contamination are not systematically taken into account in the planning of controls.
New EU legislation on seeds for sprouting and sprout producing establishments has not been adequately implemented with regard to the preliminary testing of batches of seeds before their release for processing as required by Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005.
(Source: DG Sanco website)
An interesting recall in Australia, since also in EU is mandatory declare on the label the presence of quinine as flavouring in such beverages. For more information about this recall click here.
Quinine is a natural white crystalline alkaloid having antipyretic, antimalarial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties and a bitter taste. Quinine occurs naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree, though it has also been synthesized in the laboratory. The medicinal properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua, who are indigenous to Peru and Bolivia; later, the Jesuits were the first to bring cinchona to Europe. Today is used as flavour component of tonic water and bitter lemon. Allergic reactions to quinine can be severe and can affect multiple organs.
Schweppes Australia P/L has recalled Schweppes Indian Tonic Water from Coles, Woolworths, IGA and other independent retail stores in ACT, NSW and QLD due to non compliant labelling (some individual bottles of tonic water are incorrectly labelled as ‘Soda water’ and therefore the quinine declaration is missing). Consumers who are sensitive to quinine may have a reaction if they consume this product. Consumers sensitive to quinine should not consume this product and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Package description and size: 4 glass bottles contained within a printed cardboard sleeve -300ml x 4 pack
BEST BEFORE 21 OCT 15 and 22 OCT 15 – Factory code 3212
Country of origin: Australia
Schweppes Australia P/L – 1800 761 470, www.schweppesaustralia.com.au
(Source: FSANZ website)
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 60,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 22 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
The Canadian Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) granted Frutarom, a product license for its Benolea® cardiovascular health support ingredient. Benolea supports cardiovascular health by maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. A recent clinical study by Endang Susalit, PhD, et al, showed that extract of olive leaf (Olea europaea) was effective in patients with stage-1 hypertension, demonstrating that Benolea can lower blood pressure. As of December, Benolea, manufactured in Wadinswil, Switzerland, using Frutarom’s proprietary HyperPure process, will be available to local dietary supplement manufacturers in Canada.
Benolea will be marketed in Canada by CK Ingredients, an Ontario, Canada-based distributor of specialty food and supplement ingredients.
According to The Heart and Stroke Foundation, research affirms that heart/cardiovascular disease is the No.1 killer in Canada. It also is the most costly disease in Canada, placing the greatest burden on the national health care system. Based on the latest available heart disease and stroke statistics, about 40% of Canadians have high blood cholesterol (Statistics Canada, 2012), and nearly 20% of Canadian adults (about 6 million) have high blood pressure (Wilkins et al, 2010).
Since ancient times, olive leaves have been used for medicinal purposes, exhibiting a wide range of activity, especially for cardiovascular health. Benolea offers the health benefit of olive leaves in a very convenient form for dietary supplement manufacturers
“We are excited to receive the Products Licence for Benolea® from The Canadian Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD),” says Yannick Capelle, Product Manager for Frutarom Health. “Benolea is already marketed successfully as dietary supplements successful sold in the US, Germany, Finland and Bulgaria. We are confident Canada may now also benefit from the introduction of similar products.
 Subject to certain limitations set out in said license
 Susalit E, et al. Olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract effective in patients with stage-1 hypertension
Palm oil is the main fat in almost all the cookies, snacks, sweet and savory snacks. Extensive use of this raw material is due to the extremely low cost, and to the fact that it has similar characteristics to the butter. Palm oil has several uses in foodstuff, but is rich in saturated fats and often is not harvested and produced in an ethical and environmental acceptable way (i.e. deforestation, land grabbing, dismal working conditions…).
It could be extremely useful to limit the use of such ingredient and to stimulate product’s reformulation, granting in the meantime that palm oil is harvested in a sustainable way and paid the right price.
To subscribe the petition click here.
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Diane Dodds (NI)
25th September 2014
Subject: Securing a safe and transparent food chain
The UK recently announced the establishment of a body tasked with combating crime within the food chain, the Food Crime Unit. This is very clearly a development resulting from the horse meat scandal.
Within this context, can the Commission provide an update as to what steps have been taken in recent months to secure a safe and transparent food chain on a European level?
Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission – 31st October 2014
The Commission confirms that continuous efforts are being deployed to implement and develop the initiatives mentioned in its answer to Written Question E ‐004498/2014.
Members of the network of national contact points for food fraud are increasingly engaged in cooperation and mutual assistance on cross-border cases. The network meets on a regular basis, showing to be also a useful forum for sharing experience.
Work is progressing on the setting up of a dedicated IT tool to serve the network above. This tool is going to support the data exchange between the Member States and with the Commission for the purpose of strengthening administrative assistance and cooperation.
To strengthen the capability of the control systems to detect food fraud ten modules of training on e-commerce and on investigation techniques are being offered in 2014-2015 under the Better Training for Safer Food programme.
A Conference on ‘Food fraud: a joint effort to ensure the safety and integrity of our food’ organised jointly by the Italian Presidency and the European Commission was held in Rome on 23-24 October 2014. It gathered organisations and bodies active at national and EU levels on the different aspects of the fight against food fraud.
Discussions are also ongoing with Member States on the possibility to develop further coordinated control plans in accordance with Article 53 of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004
(Source: European Parliament website)
Class I Recall – Health Risk: High- Nov 22, 2014
Products subject to the recall are packaged in plastic cryovac sealed packets, and contain various weights of ground beef. All products produced on Nov. 19, 2014 are subject to recall.
All of the following have a Package Code (use by) 12/10/2014 and bear the establishment number “Est. 40264” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Individual products include:
- Ranchers Legacy Ground Beef Patties 77/23
- Ranchers Legacy Ground Chuck Patties 80/20
- Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice Ground Beef 80/20
- Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice WD Beef Patties 80/20
- Ranchers Legacy RD Beef Patties 80/20
- OTG Manufacturing Chuck/Brisket RD Patties
- Ranchers Legacy Chuck Blend Oval Beef Patties
- Ranchers Legacy WD Chuck Blend Patties
- Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice NAT Beef Patties 80/20
- Ranchers Legacy NAT Beef Patties 80/20
- Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice NAT Beef Patties 80/20
- Ranchers Legacy Ground Chuck Blend
- Ranchers Legacy Chuck Blend Bulk Pack NAT Patties
- Ranchers Legacy Chuck Blend NAT Beef Patties
The product was discovered by FSIS inspection personnel during a routine inspection. Products testing positive on November 21, 2014 were held at the establishment. The products being recalled were produced on the same day and equipment as the positive product. Products were shipped to distributors for sales nationwide.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. FSIS and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.
FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160 ° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ.
Consumers and media with questions regarding the recall should call Jeremy Turnquist, Vice President of Operations for Ranchers Legacy Meat Co. at (651) 366-6575.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.
PREPARING PRODUCT FOR SAFE CONSUMPTION
Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.
Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
Color is NOT a reliable indicator that meat has been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria.
The only way to be sure the meat or poultry is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or one hour if temperatures exceed 90º F. Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.
Here’s my article’s selection for the week:
– ECDC publishes 2013 surveillance data on antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial consumption in EU, by K. Weist and L. Diaz Hogberg, on Eurosurveillance: on the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EEAD) on 18 November 2014, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released 2013 data on antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial consumption in Europe.
– M&S rolling out action plan to combat campylobacter, by Vince Bamford on The Grocer: Marks&Spencer is putting in place a five point action plan to reduce campylobacter in poultry.
– UK bird flu strain confirmed as H5N8, by Georgi Gyton+, on Globalmeatnews: the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the UK has been confirmed as the H5N8 strain of the disease – the same as the outbreaks in the Netherlands and Germany this month.
– CSPI asks FDA to add sesame to list of allergens, mandate labeling, by Elizabeth Crawford, on Foodnavigator-USA: FDA should protect the estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Americans who are dangerously allergic to sesame by mandating the ingredient be labeled clearly when in foods and when products are made on the same machinery as foods with the ingredient, the Center for Science in the Public Interest argues.
– General Mills settles ‘100% natural’ Nature Valley lawsuit; does not admit liability, by Elaine Watson+, on Bakeryandsnacks: General Mills has agreed that it will not use the term ‘100% natural’ to describe Nature Valley bars that contain certain ‘artificially produced’ ingredients in order to settle a long-running false advertising lawsuit.
Here’s my article selection of the week:
– Environment Committee backs flexibility for EU countries to ban GMO crops, from European Parliament ENVI Committee: long-awaited draft plans to allow EU member states to restrict, or ban, the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms on their own territory even if it is allowed at EU level won the support of the Environment Committee on Tuesday. MEPs voted to remove the Council-backed idea of a phase of negotiations with the GMO company, and supported plans to allow member states to ban GMO crops on environmental grounds.
– Italy cracks whip on health claim abusers – fines could reach €5m, by Shane Starling+, on Nutraingredients: regulators in Italy’s €1.2bn food supplements market are cracking the harshest whips against health claims abusers in the EU – a firm was recently fined €250,000 – but will the wounds be deep enough to change the market?
- Fears that German avian flu outbreak could spread, by Ed Bedington, on Globalmeatnews.com: animal health experts are continuing to monitor the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 in Germany as the yearly migration of wild birds continues to cause concerns the condition might spread.
– China Health Food: New Regulations on Nutritional Supplements, by Rachel Shen, on Chemlinked.com: on Nov. 5, 2014, CFDA released the draft of Administrative Provisions on Nutritional Supplements and Requirements on Dossiers for Nutritional Supplements, which gives detailed instructions on regulatory requirements for nutritional supplements in China. The period for public consultation is until Nov. 30, 2014.
– Mediterranean diet has ‘lasting’ health benefits, say researchers, by Nathan Gray+, on Nutraingredients.com: the health benefits of switching to a Mediterranean style diet and upping the amount of time spent exercising for a period of just eight weeks can still be seen a year after stopping the regime, according to a new study.
– Food Fraud: Money Scam and Health Hazard, by Beth Krietsch, on Foodsafetynews: despite the common belief that food fraud in the United States is a rarity, the globalized nature of our food supply chain means many of our favorite foods and ingredients travel far and wide before they reach our plates, making adulteration and other types of food fraud a considerate problem here as well.
– Revised FSMA Provisions Need More Tweaks, by Lydia Zuraw, on Foodsafetynews.com: the public is generally pleased with the revised provisions of four rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), but the public comments at the Food and Drug Administration’s public meeting Thursday suggest that the agency may have more tweaking to do.
– Unilever: “Just Mayo” Misleads Consumers Because It’s Not “Mayo”, by David Ter Molen, on FoodIdentityblog.com: on October 31, 2014, Unilever filed suit in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey against Hampton Creek, Inc. for false advertising and unfair competition for selling an egg-free spread under the brand name “Just Mayo.” According to Unilever, the lack of any eggs in the product precludes it from being labeled as “mayonnaise” under federal regulations and consumers are further misled in this regard by the egg on the product label.
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Nicola Caputo (S&D)
3rd September 2014
Subject: Labelling of organic foods and counterfeit products
As demand for organic and protected geographical indication (PGI) products rises dramatically, the quantity of fraudulent products on the market is rising with it: hundreds of products are being passed off as organic foods subject to rigorous checks but have in fact been falsely labelled and produced with complete disregard for the rules, using harmful pesticides, non-comestible liquids or even substances intended for use in animal feed.
1. How does the Commission intend to boost organic food production in an effort to satisfy demand without sacrificing quality?
2. In the context of the EU proposal on the labelling of organic products, what monitoring systems could be used to clamp down on counterfeit foods?
3. How does the Commission plan to tackle the increasing use of e-commerce to export ‘fake organic’ products quickly and on a huge scale, and to import counterfeit products?
Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission – 20th October 2014
1. The Common agricultural policy (CAP) includes measures to support organic production. From 2015, Member States will have to use 30% of direct payments to finance payments to farmers for sustainable agricultural practices that are beneficial for climate and environment. The practices of an organic farmer will be considered per se as complying with these so-called greening payments. Rural development framework includes opportunities to support increase of organic production, as a specific measure provides for Member States to support farmers converting to, or maintaining, organic production practices. The School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme (SFVS) and the School Milk Scheme (SMS) present opportunities for organic farmers.
Research and innovation has a role to play in development of EU organics, and to this end the action plan for the future of Organic Production in the European Union(1) foresees actions under Horizon 2020 to support research and innovation. The European Innovation Partnership for agriculture will also foster the exchange of innovative methods and research results and make the link between science and practice.
2. The proposal allocates a budget for technical assistance measures by the Commission so as to implement a system of electronic certification, both for products imported and for EU operators. This will make forgery and fraud, currently found in paper documents, more difficult and will enhance traceability and control.
3. As part of its Action Plan1 the Commission will assist Member States in developing and implementing an organic fraud prevention policy, through targeted workshops to share good practices and the development of compendia/casebook of cases.
(Source: European Parliament website)