Wednesday, September 23, 2009 by Kathy Means
European roundup: From new rules to schools and more
Thanks to our friends at Freshfel, the European Fresh Produce Association, we offer a few updates on produce marketing in Europe.
Marketing in Europe? Get the FAQs on new rules: The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development published a set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) along with answers regarding the new marketing standard regime. The new standards, including marketing standards, were effective July 1. This document explains the changes.
Produce program for school kids: September 4 marked the opening of the school year and the European School Fruit Scheme in several European countries. The program is designed to get more fruits and vegetables to school children, a laudable goal worth pursuing. Freshfel continues to work to improve the program. The organization seeks a clear overview of each country’s implementation program and a comparison across countries, an annual networking event to share information and best practices, and a Web site to share information and materials. Freshfel would also like the Directorate-General to establish working groups (scientific-technical group for evaluation and monitoring and a stakeholders group for sharing best practices). The association shared its concerns that German may not take up the program and that some countries may limit eligible items, calling on the Directorate-General to insist that participating countries include a broad range of fruits and vegetables.
Hope for nutrition labeling harmonization dims: In early September, the new European Parliament held its first meeting of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety in Brussels, including a discussion on the Commission proposal on nutrition labeling. It appears there are still many different views on food labeling among member states and it might be difficult to reach agreement this fall.
In addition to providing great information on the European marketplace, Freshfel also educates its members in Europe about the U.S. marketplace. Thanks to Freshfel for including PMA’s consumer research in its updates!