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The role and function of the food and veterinary office of the European Commission

Conference Room Document proposed by the European Community








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    The General Principles of Food Law in the European Union and The European Food Safety Authority
    Conference Room Document proposed by the European Community
    2002
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    European food legislation has evolved over the last forty years reflecting a blend of scientific, societal, political and economic forces. Over this period, food legislation has had different policy objectives linked to the Common Agricultural Policy or the development of the Internal Market. Although inextricably linked with the establishment and maintenance of a high level of protection of human health, safety and of consumer protection, food law at the European level was characterised with so me divergence in approach, some inconsistencies and even some lacunae. One of the key objectives therefore of the new Regulation is to establish common definitions, including a definition of food, and to lay down the overarching guiding principles and legitimate objectives for food law in order to ensure a high level of health protection. In contrast to the relatively recent development of food law at Community level, national "food acts" have a longer history. The Regulation harmonises at Community level existing national requirements, placing them in the European context.
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    Support of the Netherlands to Capacity Building in Developing Countries 2002
    This paper started with analysis of the context of globalization and liberalization. I have worked on the assumption that globalization is a irreversible process and consequently support to capacity building should take account of this fact. This assumption applies equally to liberalization. In 1995, agriculture was included in the international trade agreements for the first time since the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) after the Second World War. The WTO agreement s contain a system on trade in agricultural products. All sorts of quantitative border control measures have been translated into tariffs and subsequently a political decision has been taken to decrease the tariff level globally. There is consensus world-wide that this system is an achievement and should therefore not be abandoned. However, attention will be given to qualitative border measures. And it is precisely here that support to capacity building comes into the picture.
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    Integrated approaches to the management of food safety throughout the food chain 2002
    Most countries with systems for recording foodborne disease have reported significant increases in the incidence of diseases caused by pathogenic micro-organisms in food over the past few decades. As many as one person in three in industrialized countries may be affected by foodborne illness each year and the situation in most other countries is probably even worse. Apart from the deaths and human suffering caused by foodborne disease, the economic consequences are enormous, running into billion s of dollars in some countries. In Europe bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, "Mad cow disease") and contamination of food with dioxins led consumers to lose confidence in the safety of foods on the market, with severe economic consequences. In many cases, the origins of food safety problems can be traced back to contamination of animal feed or other factors in the early parts of the food chain, an area which until fairly recently had received scant attention from those responsible for food s afety.

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