TWENTY-FOURTH FAO REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR EUROPE
MONTPELLIER, FRANCE, 5-7 May 2004
Agenda Item 6
EXTRACT OF THE REPORT OF THE THIRTY-THIRD SESSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION ON AGRICULTURE (ECA), ROME, 1-2 March 2004
8. The Item was introduced by Mr Jean-Louis Jouve, Chief, Food Quality and Standards Service (ESNS), by placing it in the context of previous conferences and international meetings on the matter, namely the First Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators in Marrakech 2002, the Pan-European Conference on Food Safety and Quality in Budapest 2002, the 23rd FAO Regional Conference for Europe in Nicosia 2002, as well as the upcoming 2nd Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators in Bangkok.
9. The Commission was provided an overview on the different levels of approach to quality concepts, underlining the importance of consumer information and participation and the role of the public and private sector in the control of quality standards. Reference was made to the importance of sustainability of agricultural production. Special reference was made to the quality parameters linked to specific production areas and cultural traditions (“terroirs”). The introduction of this concept will contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources, enhance the potential for valorization of local or regional production know-how, assist in the (re-)organization of small producers, and contribute to food safety and better nutritional balance.
10. During the subsequent discussion, Member Nations:
11. In addition, the Netherlands presented a Country Paper on Food Chain Control and Government Supervision which is attached as Appendix C.
12. Member countries were encouraged to prepare similar country papers for the 24th FAO Regional Conference for Europe.
13. The Commission took note of the intervention by the representative of WHO and welcomed the existing collaboration between FAO and WHO in several areas related to food and nutrition policies.
14. The WHO Regional Office for Europe drew the Commission’s attention to the “First Action Plan for Food and Nutrition Policy” as well as the new publication “Food and Health in Europe: a new basis for action” and invited Ministries of Agriculture and FAO to collaborate with Ministries of Health in assessing the implementation of national food safety and nutrition policies in preparation for the Ministerial Conference in 2006, and the Second Food and Nutrition Action Plan for the European Region for 2006-2010. The text of the WHO intervention is attached as Appendix D to this report.
15. The Commission received clarification on issues regarding the establishment of Information Centres as a means to enhance consumer education and training. These centres could be established under the responsibility of national governments which could receive assistance from FAO.
16. The Representative of IFOAM underlined the scope of organic agriculture in contributing to food safety and quality, helping rural development, making sustainable use of natural resources and allowing the consumer to be in contact with the producer.