1. The task to ensure healthy food is a cross-border issue, but the EU is a single market: goods, including food, can be sold freely all over the EU. However, this also means that quality and safety rules must be set as European-wide laws. Thus, the European Commission introduced an integrated food safety policy in the EU, with compulsory checks throughout the agro-food chain to ensure that plants and animals are healthy; that food and animal feed is safe, of high quality, appropriately labelled; and that all meet the strict EU standards.
2. National enforcement authorities are required to perform controls on farms; on imported food; during transport within the EU; and on food processing plants, wholesalers, supermarkets, retailers and restaurants. The controls check for criteria such as hormones, chemicals residuals, bacteria, overall hygiene and refrigeration.
3. New emerging technology is driving the development of food safety software solutions which, in turn, is helping European companies manage and ensure quality, protect their workers, and meet industry standards and regulation. In addition, it is reducing the number of recalls, as most recalls happen because of faulty or incomplete paperwork.
4. Europe’s climate is changing rapidly due to anthropogenic activity, such as extensive fossil fuel combustion and widespread alterations in land use, which has implications for food production, food security, and food safety. Climate change, including rising temperatures, can have direct and indirect effects on animal production and is estimated to reduce yields and/or damage crops in the 21st century.
5. Consumer awareness of food safety and nutrition is a major issue in relation to healthy lifestyles and disease prevention, so food providers are challenged with finding new ways of ensuring that the healthy choice is the easy choice for consumers without altering the safety of the food.
6. Due to developments in biological sciences and increased introductions of GMO, the Commission has established a comprehensive legal framework to prevent biological hazards including bacteria, viruses, parasites, prions, biotoxins. Additionally, the European Food Safety Association (ESFA) is carrying out an increasing number of assessments on the safety of plants containing more than one modification, applying the most rigorous standards in the world to assess the safety of plants containing multiple genetic modifications.
7. Recent food safety scandals are driving the need for stakeholder transparency, and EFSA is focused on engaging with stakeholders (including consumer organizations, NGOs and advocacy groups, business and the food industry, distributors and foodservice, practitioners’ associations, academia, and farmers and primary producers) as it works to show its commitment towards openness, transparency, and dialogue.
Source: The Riverside Company.