Horsemeat issue: - extracts from the debate

Type: NEWS   Référence: 92160   Durée: 00:05:11   Première transmission: 12/03/2013  Lieu: Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
Fin de production: 12/03/2013
MEPs debated today on the legislative changes to be put forward following the horsemeat scandal. The horse burger crisis has undermined the confidence of consumers on the food chain all across the EU and has highlighted the failure of the Member States in enforcing the processes of checking. MEPs of the Food Safety committee have already criticised in previous debates in Brussels the lack of sanctions to deter food fraud. Health and Consumers Affairs Commissioner, Tonio BORG, promised to strength the regulation on the food chain checks to crack down any fraud, but underscored the fact that the labelling of origin of the meat is a complex issue that will be examined on a report to be issued this autumn.

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00:00:00 TITLE : Horsemeat issue: extracts from the debate 00:00:05
00:00:05 EXTERIOR SHOT of the European Parliament, spring flowers foreground 00:00:07
00:00:12 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy "All Member States are carrying out now the agreed DNA testing for horsemeat in beef products and testing for the absence of phenylbutazone, popular known as "bute" in horsemeat, in accordance with the recommendation supported by the Member States and adopted by the Commission on the 19th of February (2013). " 00:00:21
00:00:33 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy "The forthcoming proposal which has been drafted much before the scandal to review the rules on official controls across the food chain will require Member States to establish financial penalties applicable to intentional violation of food chain rules, but I believe that these penalties should reflect the economic game which is made by those who fraudulently violate EU legislation. In other words, only the prospect of losing more than what the illicit activity could bring, can serve as an effective deterrent." 00:00:40
00:01:13 SOUNDBITE (German) Richard SEEBER (EPP, AT) "What's important is to set up a monitoring system, find out who is responsible and get back consumers confidence. Now, the Commission Report is obviously going to be the basis upon which we will build. So a requirement for labelling of origin where farming has occurred, where slaughter is concerned, and where the meat is fed into the chain is very important and useful for consumers so that the consumers can take their decisions properly." 00:00:31
00:01:44 SOUNDBITE (English) Linda McAVAN (S&D, UK) "I think consumers have been genuinely shocked of the nature of the whole supply chain : abattoirs in one country, meat cutting somewhere else, send across Europe, back again, it seems there are too many middlemen, too many people in the middle, and we've lost the farm to folk control we thought we had after the BSE crisis." 00:00:22
00:02:06 SOUNDBITE (English) Linda McAVAN (S&D, UK) "Commissioner you have also told us that the current system is fundamentally sound. Yet many people are saying to me that the changes made in 2006 by the meat laws actually reduced the number of inspections, particularly in meat cutting plants. Now since 2006 we no longer have everyday inspections by meat inspectors, instead we have only announced inspections, and only every 3 or 6 months on meat cutting plants, and it seems that's in meat cutting plants that the scandal erupted." 00:00:35
00:02:41 SOUNDBITE (English) Chris DAVIES (ALDE, UK) "I keep to hear those words that we see in so many piece of the legislation : effective, proportional and dissuasive. Now your director general has said to the Committee that we have the best food labelling laws in the world. But it can't count for very much unless the Member States do actually put it it into practice. And we have penalties in different Member States that differ, we have procedures for issuing compliance that differ, we have different approaches being taken to potential prosecutions that differ, and we have sentences perhaps laid down by national Courts that differ. Now, on the one hand, I think that public expects European Laws to be enforced equally and effectively in every Member State, otherwise people say "but why should I comply if they not ?" On the other hand we have the difficult problem that the EU should not be imposing common criminal penalties upon Member States. This is not of course just an issue for your department, it's one for many other sectors of the Commission." 00:01:00
00:03:41 SOUNDBITE (English) James NICHOLSON (ECR, UK) "On my opinion this happened for two reasons, the process in chain is far too long, and secondly the pressure by the retailers as well on the food industry to put down the price and to provide the so called "cheap food". Let me tell this very clearly in this House today : there is no such thing as "cheap food". Good food costs money." 00:00:26
00:04:07 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy "On the question of the country of origin labelling, I can give you 5 reasons put forward by Member States in the past, because this has been discussed in the past, why this shouldn't be introduced, and I can give you 5 other reasons by another group of States who oppose this country of origin labelling." 00:00:24
00:04:31 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy "There are issues concerning the complexity of the subject, because it is one thing labelling fresh beef, it's another thing labelling different meats from different places of origin which are processed in one meat product. One has to be very careful not to attack the Single Market, there should be no elements of protectionism in this legislation, but I said I have an open mind on this, I note that there is a swelling number of Member States who are in favour of this legislation and as as soon as I have the Report I will immediately and swiftly act accordingly." 00:00:34
00:05:05 CUTAWAYS : 3 shots 00:00:06
00:05:11 END 00:00:00
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