Food defense requirements in EU?

During the next meeting of the ENVI Committee (Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the EU Parliament), on 27-28th February, there will be an extremely interesting exchange of views with the EU Commission about the food defense topic.

This is a very very preliminary step and no specific initiative at EU level at the moment is foreseen, but for sure it could be a starting point in that sense.

Here below an extract from the ENVI Committee report, explaining where do we stand now:

“Food defense means the protection of food from intentional contamination or adulteration by biological, chemical, physical, or radiological agents. It includes measures regarding prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery from intentional acts of food contamination.

The WHO, in 2007, identified intentional food contamination as one of the main global health threats of the 21st century and stated that food has become an instrument for terrorist attacks.

In the European food industry, food defense is a rather new concept, unlike in the USA where the concept of food defense originated and where it is extensively regulated. In the past years, incidents such as terrorist attacks and food fraud have contributed to the development and implementation of food defense systems in at least some Member States.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in 2001 in the US, the “Health and Security Committee” was set up in the EU. This group was given a formal status and assigned specific tasks in 2013, when Decision 1082/2013/EU on serious cross-border threats was adopted. At global level, the Commission also participates in the Global Health Security Initiative on CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) threats, working closely with the WHO and the G7+ states to create a global strategy for preparedness and response to potential health threats.

However, there is no comprehensive regulation of food defense at EU level. In view of the rising importance of the issue, the objective of this exchange of views is to discuss existing EU and Member State policies and to hear the Commission’s point of view in relation to possible EU action in this area.”

(Source: ENVI Committee, European Parliament)

Book – “RASFF history and future challenges” in “Lecciones de Derecho Alimentario 2016”

For the Spanish speaking readers recently has been published an interesting collective opera about food law, which touch many of the main issue on the table nowadays, “Lecciones de Derecho Alimentario 2015-2016”, Aranzadi.

I have been invited from Prof. Luis Gonzalez Vaqué, coordinator of the book, to write down a short history of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) system, explaining in a practical way its functioning, its actual changes and the future challenges. Special attention was dedicated to its relationships with other existing systems (from the WHO Infosan to the Food Fraud Network) and to the REFIT exercise of the EU Commission on Regulation (EC) No 178/2002.

Many other interesting topics are touched, from food labelling to food frauds, from the new Chinese Food Safety Law to food supplements.

At the link given above you can look at the summary of the book. Here the full list of authors:

Nicola Aporti, Elena Atienza Macías, Silvia Bañares, Paolo Borghi, José Mª Ferrer Villar, Isabel Hernández San Juan, Francisco Millán Salas, Montserrat Prieto Goberna, Vito Rubino, Remedios Aranda Rodríguez, Renzo Bairati, Rosa María Blanca Herrera, Pedro Diaz Peralta, Corrado Finardi, Joan Mier Albert, Hugo Alfonso Muñoz Ureña, Vicente Rodríguez Fuentes, Isabel M. Segura Roda, Cesare Varallo.