The horse meat scandal

28 March 2013    
Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D)


Widespread fraud involving horse meat has been discovered in Ireland in recent days and weeks through random checks. This widespread pan-European scandal unequivocally points to the need for a greater number of more stringent checks in order to minimise the threat to European consumers. The Commission must ensure that all food is supplied to the market and labelled in accordance with the applicable legislation. It is also appropriate (in case of infringement) to impose higher penalties.

The Commission cannot be satisfied with the current situation where food safety depends only on deficiencies being discovered by chance, as it were. What concrete steps does the Commission intend to take to push for the introduction of more effective control mechanisms, so that food inspections may prevent similar cases of fraud from happening again?

21 May 2013    
Joint answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission
Written questions :E-003621/13 , E-003623/13

Despite recent incidents like the fraud on unlabelled horsemeat in beef products the Commission considers that EU legislation on food safety is fundamentally sound and that Member States' control and enforcement systems are capable of identifying and handling food concerns arising along the food chain.

However the Commission is aware that lessons must be learnt and, if necessary, appropriate changes are to be made in the light of experience gained and is actively considering how to further strengthen EU rules and controls in future.

Some of those considerations are reflected in an Action Plan, presented by the Commission to the Member States and to the European Parliament on 15 March 2013, including specific actions and measures on the following basic elements: fighting food fraud, testing programmes, horse passports, official controls implementation and penalties and, finally, origin labelling.