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EU toughens food industry oversight after horse meat scandal

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
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Customers buy meat at a butcher at Madrid's Chamberi market April 12, 2011. (Reuters Photo)
Customers buy meat at a butcher at Madrid's Chamberi market April 12, 2011. (Reuters Photo)

The European Parliament adopted new rules on Wednesday aimed at fighting food fraud, including regular unannounced checks along the food supply chain and mandatory testing.

The measures go into effect at the end of 2019, and the penalties for food fraudsters will be tougher.

Penalties for companies that have mislabeled food will now be calculated taking into account the revenues and profits gained from fraudulent activities.

Millions of Europeans in 2013 were shocked to learn that a long list of supermarket items being passed off as beef or pork were in fact horse meat.

Meatballs, sausages and frozen burgers were pulled from store shelves across the EU over the find.

"Food in Europe must be zero risk and safe," said Karin Kadenback, a socialist MEP from Austria who introduced the law during a session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

Consumers must be spared "deceptions" such as the horse meat scandal even if they do not necessarily harm health directly, Kadenback added.

The new law, already approved by the bloc's 28 member states, aims to improve food traceability, combat fraud and restore consumer trust in the integrity of the food chain.

The legislation covers the whole food chain, including food, feed, organic production, pesticides, animal welfare and health, and protected geographical indications.

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