Recent food fraud cases, including the sale of horse meat as beef, should prompt the EU to review the functioning of the food production chain, step up checks and revise labelling legislation, says a non-legislative resolution approved on Tuesday.
The European Parliament voices concern at the growth in food fraud, which it says exploits structural weaknesses in the production chain. MEPs argue that food fraud risks are aggravated by the complexity and cross-frontier nature of this chain, coupled with the essentially national nature of inspections, penalties and enforcement measures.
Esther De Lange (EPP, NL) initiative report was approved by 659 votes to 24, with 8 abstentions.
DNA tests and stating the country of origin
The text calls for an EU-wide harmonised definition of food fraud and calls on the European Commission to strengthen the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), which carries out inspections. It also calls for the establishment of a European network to combat food fraud and proposes that DNA tests should be used more widely, to eliminate any species fraud.
MEPs call for more thorough inspections of frozen foodstuffs and for a draft law to make labelling mandatory for meat and fish. Traceability would be improved by making it mandatory to state the country of origin, they observe, including for all meat-based processed products.
MEPs consider that EU member states should fix food fraud penalties of at least twice the estimated economic gain sought by the fraudster, and criminal law penalties for cases in which fraud endangers public health.
Tuesday January 14, 2013/ European Parliament/ European Union.