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EU Action Plans to Tackle Fraudulent Food Practices

May 21, 2013

The Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy of the European Commission (EC) Health and Consumers has proposed a 5-point Action Plan to address the shortcomings identified in Europe's food supply chain. The Action Plan is a response to the recent horsemeat affair first identified by the Irish food inspectors who found horsemeat in foods marketed as frozen beef burgers in a number of UK supermarkets.

The Plan includes the following actions to be implemented by 2014:

  • Develop synergies between enforcement authorities, ensure rapid exchange of information on intentional violations of food chain rules, promote the involvement of Europol in investigations;
  • Ensure that rules on horse passports are enforced correctly, that passports are delivered only by competent authorities and that national databases are created;
  • Require that financial penalties for intentional violations of food chain rules be established at sufficiently dissuasive levels, and that control plans in the Member States include unannounced controls;
  • Adopt rules on mandatory origin labeling of meat (sheep, goat, pig, poultry, horse, rabbit, etc.) and deliver a report in autumn 2013 on the possible extension of mandatory origin labeling to all types of meat used as ingredients in foods;
  • Present and assess the results of the controls currently carried out in the EU countries.