The production of crops in the EU coupled with the free flow of agricultural commodities, produced in other regions of the world and then imported into the EU, provides European consumers with a stable supply of affordable, safe and nutritious food. A wide variety of staple commodities, as well as fruits and vegetables that we enjoy all year round, are only placed on the EU market by respecting the EU’s very strict standards. No matter where the products come from, they have to respect the same high EU standards.
The international trade of agricultural products relies on the joint efforts of many countries to set, and adhere to, internationally agreed standards. These are key to allowing the free flow of agricultural goods around the world. One such standard is a Maximum Residue Level (MRLs) for pesticides. These are set to ensure that all traded agricultural goods adhere to good agricultural practices and comply with the latest scientific evaluations. MRLs are always set to guarantee consumer safety.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducts annual evaluations of both food grown in the EU, and of food imported from outside the EU. Year on year these evaluations have demonstrated that good agricultural practices are being respected by farmers and that nearly all food products on the EU market comply with EU MRLs. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of having free flowing, transparent and resilient food supply chains in the EU.
Farmers around the world have different needs when it comes to protecting their crops from pests and diseases. These farmers should not be unduly penalised when legally treating their crops and subsequently realizing that they will not be able to export to the EU. Trade-enabling policies help foster the development of agriculture in developing countries, a key sector to deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals of poverty eradication, zero hunger and economic growth.
MRLs not only provide fair market access for suppliers from non-EU countries, but also ensure the competitiveness of the entire EU agri-food value chain, including traders, processors, food and feed industry, as well as livestock producers. The EU relies on imports of key commodities that end up being further processed in the EU, resulting in added value food products such as chocolate or coffee, or directly enjoyed by EU consumers such as tropical fruits, nuts and spices.
The session intends to cover the views from EU authorities, third countries and the EU agri-food chain on EU MRL policy, with a discussion on how to go towards a win-win scenario for EU agri-food competitiveness, third countries market access and EU consumer choice.
The audience will be able to ask questions during both the discussion and the Q&A session through sli.do.
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