Exchange of views with Tonio BORG, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy: - extracts

Type: News   Reference: 91645   Duration: 00:04:55  Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - European Parliament
End production: 20/02/2013   First transmission: 20/02/2013
MEPs exchanged views with Tonio BORG, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy in the European Parliament on Wednesday 20th of February 2013 in Brussels. The event was organized by the EP Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. Among the topics debated was the food scandal of horsemeat in the EU food chain. MEPs called for more meat tests along the food chain in the wake of the horsemeat scandal during a debate in the food safety committee on Monday. Many voiced concern over member states' level of commitment to enforcing the EU's existing rules on labeling and urged the European Commission to step up controls. Most Members felt that the issue was one of labeling and traceability rather than food safety, although some highlighted concerns that horses could be treated with substances like the painkiller drug Phenilbutazone, which is banned from meat for human consumption. EU member states plan to start testing immediately for horse DNA in processed beef foods and to detect an illegal medicinal drug in horsemeat. The decision came at a meeting of the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain, focused on the horsemeat scandal involving 12 European states. Horse DNA has been found in numerous processed beef frozen meals in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, France, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany. Suspicious products have also been withdrawn in the Netherlands as tests are conducted there. Norway and Austria are the latest two European countries to find horsemeat being sold as beef, discovering it in ready-to-eat meals.

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TIME DESCRIPTION DURATION
00:00:00 Title 00:00:05
00:00:05 Exterior vierw of the EP, Brussels 00:00:05
00:00:10 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy: Until now, this has not been a food safety issue. It is a labelling issue. Products being fraud in such a way mistreating consumers mainly for economic game. There are no indications until now, even if I will mention the savguard measures the Commission is taken, there are no indication now that this is a treat to public health. 00:00:32
00:00:42 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy This is not question of absence of legislation. We do have EU legislation on labelling . It is very clear that if a meet product is on the market, there should be indications of what type of meet it is: pork, beef or horses. So horse meet can be legitimately used in our markets , but it must be declared as horse meat on the label. Nor is the question that we don’t have the instruments. We do have the instruments , like the rapid alert system on food and feed, which works, and we even have traceability legislation which works. And it worked in this particular case . In this case, in a case of an inspection within only a few days it was possible to trace from where the meet products have come and in which member state it have been physically present. 00:01:05
00:01:47 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy "The enforcement of the EU legislation in place is the primer responsibility of the member states. This does not mean that the Commission does not help and assist and coordinate on the enforcement, or that it can not take certain actions". 00:00:17
00:02:04 SOUNDBITE (German Albert DESS EPP, DE) "There has to be serious punishment, criminal responsibility for this events. I hope that in the next few days and weeks the scandal will be better understood". 00:00:36
00:02:40 SOUNDBITE (Portuguese ) Luis Manuel CAPOULAS SANTOS (S&D, PT) "I think there are a lot of products in which you can not actually avoid a part of contamination, but here I think we need a rapid response, because there mighty be risk that the whole research organisation will move outside of the EU as a result of this". 00:00:38
00:03:18 SOUNDBITE (English) George LYON (ALDE UK , ) "This has nothing to do with food safety but rather defrauding the public. Indeed when they think they buy beef meet and indeed they buy horse one . This is a quarter of price of beef meet". 00:00:17
00:03:35 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy "We know that in crises like this here are also irrational reactions to this problems, I think is extremely important to state the facts as they are, not overstating them, not exaggerating them, but conveying the message. This is that the EU remains one of the best regions in the world as regards food safety . We do have in the internal markets instruments of this kind that till now were issues of labelling. This kind of incidents can occur, now its remains to see that this will not occur again. This is a main responsibility of the member states, and considering that the meet products, because there is an internal market, goes from one place to the other, this is a responsibility of the member states". 00:00:54
00:04:29 Cutaways (5 shots) 00:00:26
00:04:55 END 00:00:00
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