Agriculture MEPs endorse deal with Council on promoting EU farm produce

A deal with the EU Council of Ministers on measures to boost sales of EU farm produce within the EU and abroad and to restore consumer confidence in the event of market disruptions was approved by the Agriculture Committee yesterday.

According to the Parliament, the deal will further improve the promotion of EU farm products worldwide. “New measures will help EU farmers and the food industry both to boost their sales abroad and to consolidate their position on the EU single market”, said Parliament’s rapporteur Esther Herranz García.

Following Parliament’s lead, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission agreed to allow the promotion of EU farm produce on the EU single market and not just in third countries.

Information campaigns within the EU and in third countries could focus on the high food safety, animal welfare, traceability and sustainability standards that EU producers must meet. Funding for information and promotion campaigns should come exclusively from the EU and the proposing organisation, thus excluding member states from contributing, says the deal.

At Parliament’s request, the Commission will be allowed to launch prompt campaigns to remedy serious market disturbances and losses of consumer confidence, such as that in 2011, when Spanish cucumbers were wrongly blamed for causing an E.coli outbreak.

The deal also adds beer, chocolate, bread and pastry, pasta, salt, sweet corn, and cotton to the list of products eligible for the full range of EU-supported promotion measures. Fish and aquaculture products may be added to this list provided they are bundled in a promotion or information campaign with other eligible farm products.