Food Fraud: EP agrees on tougher penalties for food fraudsters
Food fraud must be tackled with much tougher and stricter controls. This is the essence of a Report by Esther de Lange MEP which was adopted today by the European Parliament with a large majority.
A tough approach should put an end to the recent series of food scandals, such as horse meat sold as more expensive beef. Such bad practices spoil the market for the vast majority of producers that obey the rules.
"Don’t mess with our food!", said Esther de Lange. "Food criminals face only a small chance of getting caught. Controls are far too administrative, inspectors even announce their visits. We demand a less predictable approach, such as the police-like approach by inspection in Denmark. Control services must cooperate better across borders."
Esther de Lange has learned that food fraud is increasing. "Unfortunately, this kind of crime seems rewarding, because the risk of detection and penalties are currently too low. We should not tolerate this! Our food is safer than ever, but we must be vigilant!"
Esther de Lange gives many concrete recommendations in her Report. Companies should lose their licenses in cases of repeated offences. Penalties should be at least twice as high as the projected benefit. Member States must cooperate better, particularly through organisations such as Europol. Food producers themselves can also do their bit by identifying fraud through internal controls and improved reporting.
"This is the first time that the European Parliament has gone out on a limb on food fraud, a phenomenon that has been neglected for too long. Europe doesn't even have a definition of what food fraud is, unlike in America. We have now tackled this blind spot,” de Lange concluded.
Note to Editors
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 275 Members from 27 Member States.
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