He Ministry of Agriculture of the European Union (EU) seeks, in the context of international trade in agri-food products, to create clauses or regulations so that farmers and ranchers have a similar competitive playing field with regard to the import of agricultural products and that the environmental effects are positive.
In accordance with José María Ferrerspecialist in food law at AINIAit is important that the projects are liked “From farm to table” are in line with EU guidelines and have not been replaced by higher emissions. Therefore, not only mirror clauses should be taken into account, but also the importance of health and environmental standards in imported agricultural and food products should be put on the table.
Global problems require action on a global scale. The EU has been working on these problems for some time and this is reflected in the Commission’s report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Union health and environmental standards to imported agricultural and agri-food products,” continued Ferrer.
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EU concerns about imported agricultural products
For Ferrer, the EU’s concerns are not only focused on the fact that agricultural and food products that are imported meet the requirements of its sanitary and phytosanitary system, it also wants to address other aspects in food such as antimicrobial resistance, where it is expected to establish new requirements from veterinary medicine legislation regarding the use of antimicrobials in animals and animal products origin.
As environmental and animal welfare issues, The EU wants to further develop aspects of food production to fill the gap in the general legislation setting out the environmental or sustainability requirements that apply to imported food.
“The aim is to work on production and conversion methods in terms of their impact on the environment and animal welfare, not on the final product, something that is considered settled by existing legislation,” explained the food law expert at AINIA.
How the EU could achieve its goal
According to Ferrer, the EU is aware of the need to ensure this sanitary standards and in matters of environmental protection are also considered in imported products and wants to achieve results in three ways:
- Multilateral level, through a global consensus on the need to act and develop internationally agreed standards. For this reason, the EU has set a long-term goal, which aims to improve health, environmental and sustainability standards worldwide.
- Trade agreements and bilateral cooperation, this is where the EU’s trade agenda and trade agreements come into play, which already include a chapter on trade and sustainable development, as well as provisions on cooperation on animal welfare and antimicrobial resistance. We will see a further step in the agreements currently being negotiated, which foresee a chapter on sustainable food systems.
- Individual or autonomous measures in the absence of previous alternatives to develop regulations on environmental or ethical aspects for imported products, always respecting the appropriate standards of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
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