Dublin MEP Nessa Childers welcomed yesterday’s vote in the European Parliament to improve controls along the whole of the food production chain.
Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote in plenary, Ms. Childers, a member of Parliament’s Enviroment, Public Health and Food Safety committee, said:
“Four years on from when Ireland and the UK found themselves at the epicentre of the horsemeat scandal, we have come to an agreement between Parliament and the Council of EU Member State governments to tighten up food inspections, improve the traceability of products and fight fraud.
“In the interests of consumer health, safety and confidence, we have revamped over a dozen separate sets of EU rules and consolidated them in a single, directly applicable EU regulation governing food and feed safety and animal and plant health.
“A lot of the former rules were either overlapping or allowing too much leeway for implementation at national level.
“This update will tighten enforcement, with a clearer regime for the whole of the agri-food chain, providing for unannounced inspections in all sectors and an improved system for external border checks.
“Penalties have also been made tougher.
However, safeguarding the rights and expectations of consumers and compliant producers alike requires hat the national authorities enforcing EU rules on the ground be adequately staffed and resourced.