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EXME 13 / 10.06


10/ 06 / 13

Keeping dangerous food off the shelves: Commission publishes annual report on EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed

An annual report published today on Europe’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) revealed that in 2012 almost 50% of notifications related to food and feed rejections at EU borders due to the risk they posed to food safety. Launched more than 30 years ago, RASFF is an IT tool that facilitates the cross-border flow of information between national food safety authorities and plays a key role in ensuring a high level of food safety for Europe's citizens. Tonio Borg, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, said: “RASFF is now an indispensable tool to respond to, and mitigate, food safety situations in the EU, since vital communication is swiftly exchanged to protect European consumers. Whilst the horsemeat scandal that has been making headline news does not fall within this reporting period, it is important to highlight that thanks to the existence of RASFF, food safety authorities throughout the EU were able to swiftly exchange information. As a result, the products were traced and withdrawn from the market.” To conclude: “the Commission envisages to extend the scope of RASFF to the fight against food fraud" (see IP/13/520 and MEMO/13/524).

Research: New partnership to fight poverty-related diseases

The European Union and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have today pledged to work together to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other poverty-related diseases that together affect more than 1 billion people worldwide. The agreement, signed in Paris today by foundation co-chair Bill Gates and European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, creates a new strategic partnership for research in the area. Between 2007 and 2011, the foundation and the European Commission have contributed around 2.4 billion euro (3.1 billion USD) to research and development focused on poverty-related infectious diseases, supporting the development of more than 20 new and improved products.

Other news

EU and Israel ink aviation agreement

The European Union and Israel formally sign today a comprehensive air transport agreement . This landmark agreement will gradually open up and integrate their markets, developing an aviation area with common rules, and providing economic benefits for consumers and new opportunities for industry. With this agreement, all EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights to Israel from anywhere in the EU and Israeli carriers will be able to operate flights to airports throughout the EU. The EU-Israel air transport market will be opened gradually over the next five years so that by 2018, the market will be fully open with no restrictions on the number of flights. A press release will be available on Rapid at 13:00.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of French group SMCP by KKR

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of the French Group SMCP by US-based investment firm KKR & Co. L.P. KKR is active in the asset management services to public and private market investors. SMCP is a designer and distributor of fashion apparel and, to a minor extent, footwear and related accessories, for women and men, under three brands, namely Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.6930.

What Commissioners said

G8 summit: Promoting global fairness through trade, taxation and transparency

One week ahead of the G8 summit, President Barroso sets out his views on the main items on the G8 agenda. Read the summit magazine (pages 30-31) published by the G8 Research Group of the University of Toronto:

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