Wednesday, 8th August 2012
Court of Auditor's Special Report finds significant problems with EU's organic food regulatory regime
Labour MEP for Munster, Phil Prendergast, has called for the regulatory regime which governs the organic food supply chain in Ireland and Europe to be strengthened. This came after the European Court of Auditors found significant problems regarding oversight in its Special Report Number 9 published recently.
In relation to Ireland, the Court found that "procedures for approval of control bodies did not specify which checks should be carried out and referred only to administrative work required when treating new applications." and that "No procedures existed for withdrawing the approval of control bodies."
More generally, the Court found that there was a need for:
1) The strengthening of supervision of control bodies (Defined as an independent private third party carrying out inspection and certification in the field of organic production);
2) Better exchange of information on infringements across the Member States; and,
3)The enhancement of traceability checks.
Ms. Prendergast said "What the Court found was that the degree of supervision and oversight of the organic food sector varies greatly from Member State to Member State. While Ireland came out generally well in the Report, a significant amount of work needs to be done across the EU to ensure people get value for money.
"As there is no laboratory test for organic food, the label of a product as "organic" depends largely on the supply chain rather than the end result. Therefore, from a consumer rights perspective, we need to ensure that there is oversight, otherwise there is no way to be sure that the food we consume is actually organic. It also allows producers charge a premium price for a sub-premium good, which is obviously a complete ruse.
"If an Irish farmer decides to invest in organic farming we need to ensure that she will receive a return on the investment, and will be able to compete with other genuine organic producers.
"I will work to ensure that the recommendations of this Report will be fully implemented across the EU-27".
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