Press Release 22.11.2018

foodwatch on Green's proposal to make changes to the EU General Food Law - “next food scandal is just a matter of time“

Brussels/Berlin, 22 November 2018. Regarding today's proposal by the European Greens to make changes to the General Food Law (178/2002), Matthias Wolfschmidt, international campaigns director of the European consumer organization “foodwatch International“, explains: 

“foodwatch welcomes the Green's initiative for an extensive discussion of the shortcomings of the commission proposal on the GFL by the current European Parliament. For the sake of more than 500 million European consumers instead of watering down an insufficient legislative proposal, foodwatch urges the European Parliament to strive towards a fundamental revision of the EU food law. Full transparency and a strict implementation of the precautionary principle are urgently needed, as is a strengthening of information rights of consumers. For example the experience with the GFL has clearly demonstrated, that food-authorities all over Europe have to be clearly obliged to inform the public quickly and comprehensively in the event of infringements and food scandals. This must include the names of manufacturers and products, both in cases where there is a risk to health and in cases of fraud. Furthermore food operators, especially retailers, must be obliged to systematically test their products for health hazards and fraudulent practices. Otherwise, the next food scandal is just a matter of time. To ensure compliance with the law consumer associations must be given the right to sue authorities and companies that fail to fulfil their obligations under EU law.“


Europe's “General Food Law“, Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002, was adopted in 2001 in reaction to the BSE crisis (mad cow disease). Currently, the European Commission is planning to revise it in the context of the “REFIT“ process (Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme). In April the European Commission proposed a reform package for European food law that would amend provisions on risk assessment for plant protection products - while turning a blind eye to all other problems. foodwatch criticised the proposal as inadequate with the argument that, instead of focusing on a single issue, the Commission must eliminate the fundamental weaknesses of EU law. Recently, foodwatch has published the comprehensive report “Lost in the Supermarket“, which gives an in-depth analysis of the food law of the European Union - and reveals fundamental weaknesses. 

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