On 10-11th April, FRUCOM held its General Assembly and an open discussion to which all members were invited.
Ms. Helene Deruwe presented the experience of FRESHFEL, EU Fresh Produce Association dealing with EU funded programmes to answer the question if research helps meeting food safety challenges. FRUCOM members approved the start of the research projects.
The day continued with an open debate on EU food safety, consumer protection and trade policy priorities of the European Union: Consumer protection or protectionism?
FRUCOM President Mr. Thomas Haas-Rickertsen welcomed His Excellency the Ambassador of Turkey to the European Union, Mr. Faruk Kaymakci, the representatives of third countries - trading partners of FRUCOM members :Ms. Nicola Hinder, Minister-Counsellor, Agriculture and Water Resources, Australian Mission to the European Union, Ms. Lisa Allen, Agricultural Attaché USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, US Mission to the EU ; Mr. Rodrigo Vega, Attaché of Chile, his colleague Counsellor Mr. Didier Wauters and Ms. Hatice Pinar Ersen Rousk, Chief Commercial Counsellor of Turkey, as well as distinguished speakers, guests and members.
FRUCOM President, Mr. Thomas Haas-Rickertsen, presented the association’s work in food safety and trade policies. On MRLs changes, FRUCOM called on the Commission to provide transition periods taking into account long-shelf life products; and stated that there must be recognition of agricultural cycles and legal guarantees as a fundamental principle. Decisions on introducing new levels for contaminants must be based on scientific risk assessment that demonstrates reduction of real risk to consumers. Reinforced controls on imports must remain proportionate.
FRUCOM also continued work on trade policy, such as trade defence measures on canned mandarins; trade agreement with Morocco; canned mushroom licences, FRUCOM products on the list of possible US retaliation, and on specific issues for seafood.
Mr. Michael Scannell, Director Stakeholders and International Relations, DG SANTE, European Commission, responded to the points raised by FRUCOM.
Exporters’ perspective – Mr. Nejat Almis, Pagmat, Board member of Aegean Exporters’ Association, Turkey, focused on the work of the Turkish association and made suggestions on improving management of food safety.
Third country government perspective was presented by Ms. Nicola Hinder and Ms. Lisa Allen.
The EU importers, Mr. Joost Penning, Catz International, President of NZV, Mr. Olivier Hottlet, Hottlet Frozen Foods, President of Belgafood concentrated on the challenges of dried fruit and nuts and seafood sectors. It was stressed that controls must be proportionate and efficient and duplication avoided, and that public authorities must take measures to prevent unfair practices in the chain which are damaging to bona fide importers (undeclared fraudulent glazing of seafood).
FRUCOM General Assembly 2018 attendees including his Excellency the Ambassador of Turkey to the European Union, Mr. Faruk Kaymakci
From left to right Michael Scannell - DG SANTE, Thomas Hass- Rickertsen - FRUCOM President, Anna Boulova - FRUCOM Secretary General
From left to right Nicola Hinder - Australian Mission to the EU,Thomas Hass-Rickertsen - FRUCOM President, Anna Boulova - FRUCOM Secretary General