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Dual quality of products – State of play

25-11-2019

In recent years, the concern that some branded products might be inferior in the Member States that have joined the European Union (EU) since 2004 has become ever more apparent. This concern has come to be known as the 'dual quality of products'. To address the issue, between 2018 and 2019, the European Commission's Joint Research Service (JRC) compared a set of branded food products sold under the same name and in the same or similar packaging across Member States – the first time a harmonised testing ...

In recent years, the concern that some branded products might be inferior in the Member States that have joined the European Union (EU) since 2004 has become ever more apparent. This concern has come to be known as the 'dual quality of products'. To address the issue, between 2018 and 2019, the European Commission's Joint Research Service (JRC) compared a set of branded food products sold under the same name and in the same or similar packaging across Member States – the first time a harmonised testing methodology has been used to compare products from the whole of the European Union. The analysis sought to determine whether, despite the identical or similar packaging, there were differences in product composition and, if so, whether those differences corresponded to any geographical pattern. Results showed that about one third of the branded food products analysed had a composition that differed from one Member State to another. However, the results did not point to any geographical pattern that might explain those differences. In 2017, the Commission had already sought to clarify the relevant legislation with a notice introducing a test that national consumer protection authorities could use to determine on a case by case basis whether the dual quality of food products was misleading. Later, in April 2018, in the framework of the 'new deal for consumers', its proposal for a new directive on modernisation of EU consumer protection rules sought to include the dual quality of products (not just of food products) in the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. The European Parliament has long voiced its concerns about the dual quality of products and had called for it to be added to the 'blacklist' of practices that should always be considered as banned. However, the text of the new directive on modernisation of consumer protection rules as adopted by the co-legislators did not include dual quality as a practice that must be considered unfair in all cases, but rather as one that must be proven to be misleading on a case-by-case basis. The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has criticised this, while business organisations defend the right of companies to differentiate their products in different markets.

The EU's beekeeping sector

24-10-2017

Every year, the EU's 600 000 beekeepers and their 16 million beehives produce 200 000 tonnes of honey. This is not however sufficient to cover demand on the EU market, and the shortfall is made up by imports, above all from China. Threats to bee health and market competition make the economic viability of apiculture a critical matter. EU policies aim therefore to address these issues and promote beekeeping, an activity that is of vital importance to the environment.

Every year, the EU's 600 000 beekeepers and their 16 million beehives produce 200 000 tonnes of honey. This is not however sufficient to cover demand on the EU market, and the shortfall is made up by imports, above all from China. Threats to bee health and market competition make the economic viability of apiculture a critical matter. EU policies aim therefore to address these issues and promote beekeeping, an activity that is of vital importance to the environment.

Agriculture in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

26-07-2016

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a preferential trade and investment agreement, negotiated between the European Union (EU) and Canada but not yet in force, which aims at increasing the bilateral flow of goods, services and investments. CETA includes several elements which are directly related to agriculture, notably tariff cuts, tariff rate quotas and Geographical Indications, while the sections on subsidies, rules of origin and sanitary and phytosanitary rules also have implications ...

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a preferential trade and investment agreement, negotiated between the European Union (EU) and Canada but not yet in force, which aims at increasing the bilateral flow of goods, services and investments. CETA includes several elements which are directly related to agriculture, notably tariff cuts, tariff rate quotas and Geographical Indications, while the sections on subsidies, rules of origin and sanitary and phytosanitary rules also have implications for the sector.

Organic farming legislation - Revision of regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products

20-10-2015

The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU. Although its organic market has constantly expanded, the EU's organic land area still represents only 6% of the total agricultural area and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, in March 2014 the Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production ...

The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU. Although its organic market has constantly expanded, the EU's organic land area still represents only 6% of the total agricultural area and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, in March 2014 the Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, repealing Regulation No 834/2007. EU Agriculture Ministers agreed in June 2015 on a Council general approach to the proposal. On 13 October 2015, the Parliament's Agriculture Committee voted on its draft report on the proposal and the mandate to begin negotiations with the Council. This briefing updates an earlier edition, of 10 September 2015: PE568.317. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Organic farming legislation - Revision of regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products

11-09-2015

The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU. Although its organic market has constantly expanded, the EU's organic land area still represents less than 6% of the total agricultural area and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, the European Commission adopted in March 2014 a proposal for a Regulation on ...

The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU. Although its organic market has constantly expanded, the EU's organic land area still represents less than 6% of the total agricultural area and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, the European Commission adopted in March 2014 a proposal for a Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007. EU Agriculture Ministers agreed in June 2015 on a Council general approach to the proposal while Parliament's Agriculture Committee is expected to vote on its draft report on the proposal in October. A more recent edition of this document is available. Find it by searching by the document title at this address: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/home.html

Organic production and the European Union

16-02-2015

Organic agriculture views itself as respecting natural cycles by refraining from the use of genetically modified organisms, by limiting the use of synthetic chemical products and by ensuring animal welfare. Organic production, regulated and supported at EU level, is controlled, certified and labelled. The specifications list also adapts to different kinds of production. Initially a niche market, organic agriculture now represents a European market worth more than EUR 22 billion a year, with demand ...

Organic agriculture views itself as respecting natural cycles by refraining from the use of genetically modified organisms, by limiting the use of synthetic chemical products and by ensuring animal welfare. Organic production, regulated and supported at EU level, is controlled, certified and labelled. The specifications list also adapts to different kinds of production. Initially a niche market, organic agriculture now represents a European market worth more than EUR 22 billion a year, with demand continuing to increase. The organic sector, seeking a vision for the future, must respond to certain challenges, particularly in its coexistence with conventional agriculture, but also in terms of producer and consumer confidence in the system and its values, in a context of growing international exchanges. In March 2014, the European Commission proposed to revise the entire legislative framework of the organic sector, in particular with the aim of reducing the current derogation practices, reviewing the control system and the import regime, simplifying the legislation and cutting down on the red tape. Some initial reactions to these proposals seem rather critical. The first reading legislative appraisal has started in the European Parliament, but the announcement of the new "Juncker Commission" of its intention to withdraw this proposal by mid-2015 should an agreement not be reached by then could change the context.

EU legislation on Organic Production and Labelling: Implementation Appraisal

13-11-2014

This is the first in a new series of 'Implementation Appraisals', produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), on the operation of existing EU legislation in practice. Each such briefing focuses on a specific EU law which is, or will shortly be, subject to an amending proposal from the European Commission, intended to update the current text. The series is based on the Commission’s intentions, as announced in its annual Work Programme (CWP). 'Implementation Appraisals' aim to provide ...

This is the first in a new series of 'Implementation Appraisals', produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), on the operation of existing EU legislation in practice. Each such briefing focuses on a specific EU law which is, or will shortly be, subject to an amending proposal from the European Commission, intended to update the current text. The series is based on the Commission’s intentions, as announced in its annual Work Programme (CWP). 'Implementation Appraisals' aim to provide a succinct overview of material publicly available on the implementation, application and effectiveness of an EU law to date - drawing on available in-puts from, inter alia, the EU institutions and advisory committees, national parliaments, and relevant external consultation and outreach exercises. They are provided to assist parliamentary committees in their consideration of the new Commission proposal, once tabled. PE 536.328 v02-00

Organic Production and Labelling of Organic Products: Initial Appraisal of the Commission's Impact Assessment

15-07-2014

This briefing seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying its proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on organic production and labelling of organic products (COM (2014) 180), which was adopted on 24 March 2014. It does not attempt to deal with the substance of the proposal and is drafted for informational and background purposes to assist the AGRI committee and its Members in their ...

This briefing seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying its proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on organic production and labelling of organic products (COM (2014) 180), which was adopted on 24 March 2014. It does not attempt to deal with the substance of the proposal and is drafted for informational and background purposes to assist the AGRI committee and its Members in their work.

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