Written Q&A to EU Commission – Food frauds countermeasures

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)

Elliot review published today!

Professor Chris Elliott’s final report into the integrity and assurance of UK food supply networks has been published today. You can download the report at the following link.

The review was prompted by growing concerns about the systems used to deter, identify and prosecute food adulteration. The horse meat crisis of 2013 was a trigger, as were concerns about the increasing potential for food fraud and ‘food crime’. Food fraud becomes food crime when it no longer involves random acts by ‘rogues’ within the food industry but becomes an organised activity by groups which knowingly set out to deceive, and or injure, those purchasing food. These incidents can have a huge negative impact both on consumer confidence, and on the reputation and finances of food businesses.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published also the document Government response to the “Elliott review of the integrity and assurance of food supply networks”.

Enjoy the reading and stay tuned for comments about the documents.