Commission trade announcement hailed as ‘a positive first step’

The EU Commission’s announcement this morning that it is to ban a series of unfair trade practices identified in the food supply chain has been welcomed as a “positive first step” by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

ICMSA president Pat McCormack said that no link in the food supply chain is as commercially vulnerable as the farmers, who are “right at the beginning” of the chain.

McCormack acknowledged Commissioner Hogan’s momentum on this issue, on which much had been promised down through the years and decades with very little tangible results by way of regulation.

The president said that, though there is bound to be resistance and “push-back” from the corporate retailers, a first critical and powerful step has been taken and a signal sent to the corporations that “their abuse of weaker links in the food supply chain is now going to be challenged”.

“At last we have a tangible sign that the commission accepts that farmers have been – and are being – abused by the retailers,” McCormack said.

Noting that – independently of the commission – the French government last week announced that it too intends regulating margins in the food supply chain, McCormack urged the EU Commission to “show that dominant position abuse was as unacceptable in the supply and sale of food as it was in any other area”.

McCormack also urged the commission and MEPs to stand strong in the face of what he said will be “a wave of spin” from the corporate retailers on how these regulations will cause consumer food inflation.

“This announcement isn’t the end of the matter; it’s not even the beginning of the end, but it’s the first signal that the dictatorship of the corporate retailers might be coming to an end – for which we should all, including consumers, give thanks,” he concluded.