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In September 2020, Belgium initiated a notification in the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) concerning residues of an unauthorised substance called ethylene oxide (EO) in various lots of sesame seeds from India. This triggered a chain of enforced testing and controls, leading to withdrawals and recalls of significant amounts of products in many EU Member States, including products such as hummus, bread, and sauces containing sesame. Both conventional and organic products are concerned ...

This study provides a broad perspective on the main trends regarding the use of pesticides in developing countries and their impacts on human health and food security. Information is provided on the challenges of controlling these hazardous substances, along with the extent to which pesticides banned within the European Union (EU) are exported to third countries. The analysis assesses the factors behind the continuation of these exports, along with the rising demand for better controls. Recommendations ...

New plant genetic modification techniques, referred to as 'gene editing' or 'genome editing', have evolved rapidly in recent years, allowing much faster and more precise results than conventional plant-breeding techniques. They are seen as a promising innovative field for the agri-food industry, offering great technical potential. Consumers could benefit from enhanced nutritional quality or reduced allergenicity of food, for example, such as gluten-reduced wheat. There is, however, considerable debate ...

The aim of this briefing is to give an overview of positions the European Parliament has taken over the last twenty years that are relevant to the Farm to Fork strategy, the component of the European Green Deal that aims for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. Despite it being a new strategy, most of its 27 actions are connected to already existing legislation and as such, Parliament has previously given its opinion on the subjects covered by the strategy. This briefing presents ...

While the EU chicken-meat and egg sector shows some diversity in terms of farm and flock size, yield and types of farming within and between European countries, it is known to be one of the most intensive farming systems in the EU, with farms numbering hundreds of thousands of birds. This paper aims to provide an overview of the sector's structure in the EU and of the relevant legislation and policy instruments – from CAP support to farmers, and trade and marketing standards, to legislation with ...

The commissioner-designate, Stella Kyriakides, appeared before the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament on 01 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, she made a number of oral commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including "protecting and promoting public health" and ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission published a proposal to review the General Food Law Regulation and amend eight legislative acts dealing with specific food chain sectors. The proposal follows up on the European Citizens' Initiative on glyphosate; and especially on concerns regarding the transparency of the scientific studies used in the evaluation of pesticides. The proposal also responds to a fitness check of the General Food Law, completed in January 2018. The proposal's objective is to ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

Consumer protection rules have been improving the rights of consumers in the European Union since the 1970s. While the level of protection is today considered to be among the highest in the world, consumers in the EU are still faced with a number of issues. According to the latest available data, in 2016 one in five consumers said that they had had a reason to complain in the last 12 months, a level which has remained largely unchanged since 2008. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of ...

Policy Department A provides high-quality expertise, up-to-date analysis and independent research to the committees it supports: ECON, EMPL, ENVI, ITRE and IMCO. This brochure focuses on the Policy Department services for the ENVI Committee.