A new report on animal health and welfare has been approved by MEPs in Europe this week. 

The Paulsen Report, which was brought to the table by Swedish MEP Marit Paulsen, has been adopted by the European Parliament. It is a package of measures designed to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain.

The package of measures provide a modernised and simplified, more risked-based approach to the protection of health and more efficient control tools to ensure the effective application of the rules guiding the operation of the food chain, according to the author Marit Paulsen.

The current body of EU legislation covering the food chain consists of almost 70 pieces of legislation. The package of reform will cut this down to five pieces of legislation and will also reduce the red-tape on processes and procedures for farmers, breeders and food business operators (producers, processors and distributors) to make it easier for them to carry out their profession.

According to the report, consumers will benefit from safer products and a more effective and more transparent system of controls along the chain.

According to Marit Paulsen, who is responsible for steering the proposal through Parliament, there needs to be a balance between free trade and a very clear control system. “On the one hand we need free trade, which is important to have economic growth and create jobs, on the other hand we cannot have the same freedom for infectious diseases. If you do have free trade, including for animals and animal products, then you will need to have a very clear control system. To achieve that balance is very important.”