EU Auditors warn that food safety system overstretched (highlights pesticides levels on food imports)
The EU’s system for protecting consumers from chemical hazards in food is overstretched, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors.
The European Commission and the Member States do not have the capacity to implement the system fully, the auditors say.
EU food safety policy aims to guarantee a high level of protection for human life and health, and to protect EU citizens from three types of hazards in food: physical, biological and chemical. This audit concentrated on chemical hazards.
The Auditors said the legal framework governing chemicals in food, feed, and plants and live animals remains a work in progress, they say, and has not yet been implemented to the level envisaged in EU laws governing food production.
In addition, the European Food Safety Authority, which provides scientific advice to inform European policymaking, suffers backlogs in its work in connection with chemicals.
This, the Auditors said affects the proper functioning of parts of the system and the sustainability of the model as a whole.
“Food safety is a high priority for the EU; it affects all citizens and is closely linked to trade”, said Janusz Wojciechowski, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “But the current EU system faces a number of inconsistencies and challenges.”
Some Member States’ controls cover certain chemicals more frequently than others, and their legal frameworks are so extensive that public authorities find it difficult to fulfil all their responsibilities.