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Questions and answers

As a farmer, I would like to gauge the impact the current reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will have on my revenue. Where can I find this information?

The European Commission has proposed recently to modernise, simplify and streamline the Common Agricultural Policy. This process is called the "CAP Health Check" and proposes modifications in three different areas: direct aid system, market instruments and rural development policy.

An overview of the reform and the different legislative texts can be found on the DG Agricultural and Rural Development website.

How do countries in the EU trade food products with countries outside the EU? Are there any special arrangements that exist with certain non-EU countries?

The EU firmly believes that opening up trade in agricultural products to non-EU countries is an important factor in the sustained and continued economic growth of countries worldwide. Nevertheless, this opening should not, in any way, undermine consumer, environmental and social standards. Agreements are therefore negotiated on an international scale by the World Trade Organisation.

The website of DG Trade offers a thorough overview of the various agreements between the EU and the rest of the world.

I am a producer of canned peas and would like to know which data I must mention on my labels. Can you help?

The European Union imposes certain requirements on the labeling of food and drink products in order to provide comprehensive information about the contents and composition of these products. These measures guarantee consumers find the information they require easily.

The type of information to be mentioned as defined by European legislation can be found on the website of DG Health and Consumer Protection.

I am a producer of genetically modified corn and would like to sell my production in the European Union. What are the administrative procedures I must follow?

To ensure the development of modern biotechnology - particularly Genetically Modified Organisms - takes place in complete safety, the EU has established a legal framework comprising various directives and legislatives acts. Among them, Regulation 1829/2003 outlines a specific authorisation procedure for products containing GMOs which enter the European market.

A summary of this regulation can be found on the website which provides summaries of European legislation and links towards the complete legislative texts. Other useful information can be found on the DG Health and Consumer Protection website.

I am concerned about the safety of the food I eat, can you tell me what standards exist to protect consumers' health and are they Europe-wide?

The food safety website, which is part of the DG Health and Consumer Protection website, provides comprehensive information for all European citizens. Legislative documents on food safety can be found on this website, as well as rules on animal health and welfare.

I would like to have access to data showing exports and imports of processed food products for every EU country. Does this type information exist and where can I find it?

The EU is the world's largest exporter of processed food products. It exports food products to the value of €66.4bn - 20.8% of the total world market share. A deep and complete analysis of the exports and imports of the food sector is available on the Eurostat website.

I would like to know the maximum level of pesticide residue permitted by the EU in its food products.

Maximum residue levels (MRLs) have been set by the European Commission to protect consumers from exposure to unacceptable levels of pesticide residue in food. From September 2008, a new legislative framework is applied within the EU. Regulation 396/2005 aims to harmonise and simplify the legislation on MRLs.

More related information can be found on the website of DG Health and Consumers.

What legislation governs the importation of alcohol, and in particular wine, into the European Union?

Imports of wine into the EU require an import licence, issued by EU member states. These licences are valid throughout the whole of the EU.

The entire and complete legislation may be consulted on the Eurlex and Scadplus website.

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