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August 6, 2021

EC’s Andriukaitis in Bucharest: We must counter unfair trade practices, sending false info to consumers. HealthMin Bodog: Since we are Europeans, we have the right to eat food of the same quality

On a visit to Bucharest on Thursday, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis (photo R)  talked about the studies carried out at the level of the 28 EU member states into the possibility of existing several poor quality food, from country to country, underscoring that unfair trade practices and sending wrong information to consumers must be countered.

He went on to say that a joint methodology will be ensured, which will allow member states to carry out the necessary analysis, thus, possess an important instrument when it comes to dual food quality. Secondly, he said that he requested to see the legal framework because it’s time to ensure a solid implementation of some judiciary instruments in order to counter unfair trade practices, underscoring that there is a directive in this regard, but the regulation framework needs to be improved.

Andriukaitis said he requested that authorised persons carry out an analysis of this situation at EU level.

He added that, for the moment, only the situation of eight member states that completed the analysis is known. The European Commission requested member states an analysis of this situation and funding was made available for this analysis, he said. He mentioned that this is an initiative of the European Commission, but one must see the entire picture, including the other 28 member states, because there are different situations in each one of them. The EC’s official stressed during  a news conference at the Representation of the European Commission in Bucharest the need to see how can we move on forward with this process of implementing directives and counter unfair trade practices or the wrong info to consumers.

European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis also underscored that food products that have a double quality standard from one country to another might affect the consumers’ health in the long run.

The European Commission announced on July 25 that it was preparing a common method to see if food quality is lower in some member states, as alleged.

“We are working on a sound methodology to improve food product tests so that member states can discuss this issue on a sound and shared scientific basis that is the same for all,” commission spokesman Christian Wigand told the EUobserver online publication.


 HealthMin Bodog: Since we are Europeans, we have the right to eat food of the same quality


Health Minister Florian Bodog, on the occasion of his dialogue with the citizens on Thursda, pointed out that Romanians have the right to eat the same quality food as other Europeans.

“In what concerns the quality of products, I clearly believe that, since we are European citizens, we have the right to eat the same quality food and for the same price as the rest of the European citizens, for, unfortunately, if we are truly dealing with this double standard, where the price in Romania for a product is higher than the price of the same product in another country of the EU, in the context in which the quality of the product in Romania is worse or the meat percentage is lower, then it’s clear that we are facing a problem and I believe we can regulate this,” Bodog said.

According to the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, food waste represents a big problem.

He also said that the EU wastes approximately 88 million tons of good food, or 164 billion euro annually.

In a different matter, Bodog said that the list of essential medicines already exists at European and world level and it is also valid in our country. “We didn’t remove this from the law; what is still to be discussed is the price policy that every state needs to adopt,” said Bodog.

The Minister of Health underscored that the problem of immunoglobulins has nothing to do with the list of essential medicines. He also drew attention that the problem of immunoglobulins is not only Romania’s problem, but Europe’s problem, too.

“It is very clear that a company that sales immunoglobulin in Romania in a small quantity would prefer to distribute it in the countries that pay more, which I believe is unfair for the patients in the countries with smaller possibilities of financing this immunoglobulins,” added Bodog.


Commissioner Andriukaitis, on glyphosate: Commission does not grant licence without support of qualified majority of governments


European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, on visit in Bucharest, referred to renewing the licence in the EU for glyphosate, underscoring that the food safety system must rely on science and affirmed that no authorisations will be granted without the support of a qualified majority of the democratically-elected governments.

“So far we haven’t had a qualified majority (…) and we are not certain at present how things will evolve. During the Commission’s forthcoming meeting, next week, we will organise and see what actions to undertake. Until December 15 we still have time, however, as I was saying, my signal is very powerful. The Commission does not grant authorisations without the support of a qualified majority of the democratically-elected governments. And my chief message goes to all farmers, to all the institutions, to all organisms in society: ‘Carry on discussions with national governments and national parliaments, and these talks should not rely on feelings but on science.’ The Commission is fulfilling its obligations, we uphold science and the food safety system must lean on science only, not on the public opinion. If we look at diverse public opinions and we depend on them, we will destroy the food safety system in the EU. That is very clear,” Vytenis Andriukaitis specified during a press conference held at the European Commission Representation.

He mentioned that he is a physician and is concerned first and foremost about the human health. Vytenis Andriukaitis also highlighted that he will pursue the dialogue with governments, as the Commission “is not ready to act on its own.”

The European Commissioner also drew attention to the fact that the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have reached the conclusion that the glyphosate is not likely to be a carcinogen. On the other hand, he remarked that in the EU there is “major” opposition from certain NGOs, the mass-media and on behalf of certain political parties, that have started to put pressure on governments on this issue.

A French couple announced on October 4 that they are filing a complaint against the herbicide producers based on glyphosate, among which the Monsanto Company, deeming them responsible for their ten-year old son impairment, AFP informs.

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