02 Dec 2013
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Stand-up CB on The recent horsemeat scandal was a wake-up call for many Europeans that the food industry needs stricter oversight. A report here in the European Parliament aims to give the sharper tools needed to fight that kind of food fraud. And that includes tougher penalties.
inspections CB off The report, approved by the Environment Health and Food Safety Committee, proposes to extend food inspections from health aspects only to all aspects of food fraud. The EPP Group's Esther de Lange is author of the report.
Interview Esther de Lange, Dutch MEP, on :30
What really got me the wide support among colleagues is the recent horsemeat scandal. People then realised that these examples are not just one-off occurrences, but that we have to look at this food chain in a structural way and see where the weaknesses are and how we can improve them.
General shots of food market Other examples of fraud include using road salt in foods and marketing regular eggs as organic.
food How to fight it? The legislation calls for a clear EU-wide definition of food fraud, and reinforcing the role of the European Commission's Food and Veterinary Office, or FVO.
Authorities, inspecting Another key action: authorities should take on more of a policing role. That includes the element of surprise.
Esther de Lange, Dutch MEP, on 1:28 Controllers let you know in advance when you´re coming and you pretty much know exactly what elements they´re going to check. A policeman told me we police guys we look at things differently. We have a nose for sniffing out the bad guys. And then we don´t come announced, we don´t come through the front door, we come through the back door if we suspect something.
inspections And the legislation has teeth:
It says penalties should be increased to at least double the profit from food fraud, far higher than they are now.
Esther de Lange, Dutch MEP, on 2:37
In general they are too low. To give you an example from the horsemeat scandal, if the Irish authorities actually managed to prosecute one of the firms that was involved, the maximum fine is 30,000 euros. With one container of horsemeat labelled as beef, as a fraudster, you win 65,000 euros. ... We have to hit them where it hurts, and is in their wallet.
Committee shots The next step: getting the full Parliament to approve the report early next year, which appears all but certain.
CB on Food fraud has long been a blind spot among many European lawmakers and inspectors. And all the while, Ms. de Lange says the problem has kept growing. The time to act, she says, is now.
Stand-up CB on Find out more about the activities of the largest political force in parliament by checking eppgroup.eu. Thanks for watching and see you again soon.
Headline More EU policing, more penalties to fight food fraud.
Description The European Parliament's Environment, Health and Food Safety Committee has approved a report calling for stronger policing of the food industry, and tougher penalties for fraud. The report, authored by EPP Group MEP Esther de Lange, is aimed at fighting growing food fraud in Europe.
Tags EPP Group, European Parliament, Esther de Lange, food fraud, horsemeat scandal
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