Today, at the conclusion of the High-level meeting dedicated to the follow-up to the Fipronil incident, chaired by Commissioner Andriukaitis, the Member States and the Commission agreed on 19 concrete measures which will reinforce the EU's action against food fraud. These measures will again be presented at the AGRIFISH Council on 9-10 October.
Commissioner Andriukaitis welcomed today's achievements:
"First of all let me say that I was extremely pleased to see such a high level of participation today. It truly shows that the issue of food safety and food fraud is at the heart of discussion throughout the European Union.
I wanted this meeting to happen for at least a few important reasons
o I wanted to make sure that we take stock and reflect on the lessons learnt;
o And I also wanted to enhance communication between Member States and look for a more coherent and coordinated approach for the future in order to prevent such incidents from happening. Indeed, food fraud cases as this one damage public trust in the food safety and can eventually lead to destruction of trust in particular food industry. Misdoings and fraudulent practices of a few should not have such devastating effects.
I think that we had an open and frank exchange of views on past, current and future actions by both Member States and the Commission.
Today's dialogue allowed us to identify several strategic and systematic actions needed at Member State and EU-level.
I will not enumerate all of them but I would like to mention a few.
We will improve risk communication between Member States and Commission making sure it reaches the general public in a more coherent and swift way.
We will make sure that it is easier to ensure rapid common risk assessment when such situations emerge.
We will aim at bridging the gap between the use of Rapid Alert System for food and feed (RASFF) and the Administrative and Cooperation system (AAC). These systems are our strength – we need to maximise their potential.
We will consider how to establish a 'food safety officer' in each Member State to make sure information flows as fast and as efficient as possible.
Finally, as last example I would mention capacity building activities including trainings and regular crisis exercises.
These are the types of concrete measures I was hoping we would agree on today and I am truly pleased we did.
Preserving public health and food safety is a collective responsibility. The wide food supply poses challenges that require us to maintain strong and efficient food fraud detection system and procedures and to communicate and cooperate at all the levels.
I am confident that the actions that we agreed upon today will help us do just that."
Conclusions of the High-level meeting are available here.