The ‘horsegate’ ghost still haunts the EU

The EU is still feeling fallout from last year’s ‘horsemeat’ scandal, with consumer confidence in the EU food system strongly undermined. But the EU has the power to prevent such scandal from repeating.

Soon after horsemeat was found in lasagne labelled as “beef”, the EU reacted promptly by launching a set of actions. Among them was to tighten the current rules on official controls for food. While the Commission’s proposal released in May 2013 gave great impetus, BEUC came up with some extra demands. They include higher financial penalties to deter fraudsters from being tempted to act, unannounced inspections by public authorities, hygiene ratings on the door of food businesses, etc.

We count on the Environment, Health & Food safety Committee of the European Parliament to back these stricter measures next January 30th.  With drops in frozen food sales leading to food factories closing down, the EU should wonder which costs it is willing to bear - allocating more budget resources to prevent food fraud or suffering economic loss?