Call for Fair Practices Along Food Chain05 December 2013
EU - European farming organisation Copa-Cogeca has called for fair practices all along the food chain, to the benefit of everyone.
At a workshop in the European Parliament, "A fair food chain for all", Copa-Cogeca said a system consisting of voluntary codes of good practice backed up by legislation to guarantee the anonymity of complainants and to ensure sanctions are enforced by an ajudicator is needed,.
Speaking at the event, which was hosted by MEP Maria do Ceu Patrão Neves, Vice-Chairman of Copa-Cogecas' Working Party on the Food Chain Marc Rosiers said: "Farmers are up against more and more challenges, like volatile markets, the last thing we need is supply chains that aren’t fair for everyone.
"Bad practices stop farmers from investing and innovating. The abusive practices also damage consumer choice. They must be tackled if we are to ensure an efficient EU agri-food sector capable of meeting growing food demand.
"We want a system which ensures that the codes of good practice are enforced and implemented on the ground and will work. We do not believe a voluntary system alone will ensure this . It must be backed up by legislation.
"The system must include a dispute settlement scheme which provides a guarantee of anonymity of complainants that would put suppliers out of reach of retaliatory action from their clients. The scheme must also include sanctions and compensation to the plaintiff if principles are not applied."
Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen continued: "The voluntary initiative recently launched by 8 signatory stakeholders will not deliver. The anonymity of complainants and potential sanctions are the major weak points of this voluntary framework.
"The sanctions are not strong enough to prevent abusive practices. An adequate level of protection to complainants can only be achieved with legislative measures and a credible and efficient enforcement. We urge the Commission to take action."
Some Member States legislation have already introduced legislation as self-regulation did not work when confronted with the huge power of a handful of supermarkets. A fair and equitable supply chain in the food industry is good for farmers, for processors and retailers; and above all, for consumers.
The event brought together Members of the Parliament, high-level representatives of the European Commission and Council, as well as farmers and other stakeholders in the agri-food chain.
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