Consumers suffer three defeats

Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship, on the left, and Tonio Borg, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy gave yesterday a joint press conference on the Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package. (EC Audiovisual Services).

Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship, on the left, and Tonio Borg, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy gave yesterday a joint press conference on the Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package. (EC Audiovisual Services).

European consumers suffered three blows yesterday. After having being informed that their beef burgers contained uncontrolled horse meat and secondly that the EU is ready to allow in American GMOs and animal products with hormones, came the Commission to recognise, that safety rules in the non-food product markets are inadequate. On this last issue the European Commission proposed yesterday, “new rules to improve the safety of consumer products circulating in the Single Market and to step-up market surveillance concerning all non-food products, including those imported from 3rd countries”. Let’s take one thing at a time, starting from the most urgent subject, the horse meat.

What horse meat?

The 27 EU ministers of agriculture gathered yesterday in Brussels to hear Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, telling them that, “regarding the unlabeled presence of horsemeat found in certain processed food products, including burgers and beef lasagne…it is important to underline that the evidence to date in relation to this episode does not suggest a health crisis. Horsemeat, according to EU legislation, can be used for the production of minced meat and meat preparations”…

Unbelievably, no one of the 27 minister asked Tonio how he could know that this horse meat did not contain unauthorised substances, since it was introduced in the mincemeat under dark procedures. On top of it is more than certain that the “stuff” is still in circulation and again Tonio has not the means to know, if it is safe prime quality horse meat. From what we know the prime quality horse meat is more expensive than beef.

Consequently, there was no incentive to mix horse meat of acceptable and marketable quality in the beef burgers. So Tonio could have concluded that the horse meat used in this case must have been of non-acceptable quality, that is dangerous. But Tonio didn’t make this simple reasoning, he just rushed to convince everybody that it is safe to continue eat beef burgers with horse meat of unknown origin and quality.

Commissioner Tonio didn’t stop there. He went on by saying that it is “The Member States are responsible for ensuring the proper enforcement of EU rules. Once a food product is put on the market in the EU, it is the responsibility of Member States to check whether or not the product presents a risk and whether it complies with applicable legislation”. As if we didn’t know this. Seemingly stating the obvious is an art at Berlaymont.

Not a word for the completely ineffective EU control system of food sector. Britons were allowed to feed their cows with animal proteins until they turned them mad. Germans were selling food with e-coli unobstructed until people started dying by the tens. In reality, the control system of the food sector is based on the responsibility of the producer. That is why is so ineffective.

But Tonio didn’t find a word about all that. He simply said that nothing is going to change and member states will continue doing what they have being doing so far. In short, we consumers have only God to pray for the next food scandal not to come. As for the advertised DNA controls to be performed on the meat of beef burgers for one month, this is like trying to airlift the undernourished millions in some poverty-stricken region.

Non food

As if there was not enough negative charge in the market atmosphere the EU Commission announced an initiative for “Safer products and a level playing field in the internal market”. Not that there is no need for that, but the timing is bad and reminds us all that the controls performed so far are not adequate. In short the “European Commission proposed today new rules to improve the safety of consumer products circulating in the Single Market and to step-up market surveillance concerning all non-food products, including those imported from 3rd countries”. It was high time to do that.

EU-US trade

Last but not least also yesterday the European Commission announced that the EU is about to start negotiations with the United Sates to conclude a Free Trade Agreement. As the Sting writes today “As for the European consumers, who will be forced to eat American meat with hormones and genetically modified corn, wheat and soya, let them eat what their American counterparts swallow every day and still remain alive…”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Eurozone: How safe are our deposits? Which banks will survive?

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

EU-U.S. trade talks: milestone reached in mutual recognition on pharmaceuticals

7 innovative projects making cities more sustainable

It’s time to switch to a four-day working week, say these two Davos experts

Local innovation, international impact: SMEs and the ITU Telecom World Awards

YOUTH RIGHTS AT RISK FROM RISE OF EXTREME-RIGHT AND POPULISTS IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: prizewinning journalists freed in Myanmar, new tracking tool for suspected terrorists, and a global bid to stop snakebite deaths

How fungi could save the world

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

Endocrine disruptors: A strategy for the future that protects EU citizens and the environment

Youth unemployment: No light at the end of the tunnel

What’s the difference between carbon negative and carbon neutral?

The global issue of migration in 2017

He died so I could live: UN peacekeeper pays tribute to fallen colleague

UN must provide redress for minorities placed in toxic Kosovo camps, says rights expert

FROM THE FIELD: Saving the tree kangaroos of Papua New Guinea

Quelling antimicrobial resistance: a clinico-pharmacological exigency

Anti-Money Laundering: Commission decides to refer Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to fully implement EU anti-money laundering rules

3 ways governments can address cybersecurity in the post-pandemic world

What next for Europe? Three (completely) different Davos views

This Dutch butcher makes plants taste just like meat

‘We will not give up on looking for peace for South Sudan’: UN deputy chief

EU guidance on the handling of visa applications from residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions

‘Ground Zero’: Report from the former Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan

Sweden well ahead in digital transformation yet has more to do

UN envoy commends successful conclusion of Guinea-Bissau presidential election

5 ways companies can support their remote workforce

In the age of the tourism backlash, we need ‘destination stewards’

Lagarde discusses the European Central Bank’s policy revamp with MEPs

Governments should step up their efforts to give people skills to seize opportunities in a digital world

Ebola in DR Congo: UN chief ‘outraged’ by recent killings of civilians and health workers

When is Berlin telling the truth about the EU banking union?

The role of junior entrepreneurs as a bridge between academia and business world

The online junk information grows, but so we shall

Thoughtful blockchain implementation is key to improving supply chains in a post-COVID world

Commission reinforces tools to ensure Europe’s interests in international trade

Mergers: Commission approves Assa Abloy’s acquisition of Agta Record, subject to conditions

Blue bonds: What they are, and how they can help the oceans

Student-teacher ratio in terms of numbers and quality: an opinion article of nowadays context worldwide

Fairness in the food supply chain: Commission proposes to increase price transparency

Take care of your borders and then expand them

How to decarbonize shipping without spending billions

More refugees being helped by family, work and study permits, finds OECD and UNHCR study

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: migration tragedy in the Rio Grande, drugs report, Torture Victims Day

The quality of health education around the globe

Ten reasons to be optimistic in 2019

Women vital for ‘new paradigm’ in Africa’s Sahel region, Security Council hears

A staggering one-in-three women, experience physical, sexual abuse

Mobile technology, a necessary pearl in developing countries

Why 2020 will see the birth of the ‘trust economy’

World Food Day: here’s what the UN is doing to fix ‘intolerable’ wrong of hunger

Indonesian tsunami death toll climbs over 400 as Government-led relief efforts are stepped up

Primary Healthcare vs Specialization Careers, how to promote PHC to the Young Health Workforce?

EU-China Light Bridge in Brussels signals the bright coming of the Year of The Dog

NHS: A great healthcare system but how accessible is it to migrants?

Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic Congo is ‘largely contained’: WHO

How technology is leading us to new climate change solutions

With millions of girls ‘at risk’ today of genital mutilation, UN chief calls for zero tolerance

Climate change update: will the UN member states regain momentum despite the little progress at COP23?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s