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The Commission test results on horse DNA and Phenylbutazone: there is no food safety issues

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european commissionLaunched last month, the coordinated EU-wide testing for horsemeat DNA and phenylbutazone1 requested, and co-financed, by the European Commission in the wake of the horsemeat scandal has revealed that less than 5 % of the tested products had horse DNA and that about 0.5 % of the equine carcasses tested were found to be contaminated with bute.

“Today’s findings have confirmed that this is a matter of food fraud and not of food safety. Restoring the trust and confidence of European consumers and trading partners in our food chain following this fraudulent labelling scandal is now of vital importance for the European economy given that the food sector is the largest single economic sector in the EU” said Commissioner for Health and Consumers Tonio Borg. To conclude: “In the coming months, the Commission will propose to strengthen the controls along the food chain in line with lessons learned.”

The purpose of coordinated testing plan was two-fold: firstly, controls were to be carried out, mainly at retail level, of food destined for the end consumer and marketed as containing beef, to detect the presence of unlabelled horsemeat and secondly, to test for the possible presence of bute in horsemeat. The testing was co-financed at 75% by the European Commission

The number of tests that were carried out to detect the extent of the mislabelling varied between 10-150 samples depending on the size of the EU country and on consumption habits. The criteria for the bute sampling carried out were one sample for every 50 tonnes of horsemeat with a minimum of 5 tests. Some Member States exceeded the number of tests recommended by the Commission.

7,259 tests were carried out by the competent authorities in the 27 EU countries, of which 4,144 tested for the presence of horsemeat DNA and 3,115 tested for the presence of phenylbutazone. Of those tests, 193 revealed positive traces of horsemeat DNA (4.66%) and 16 showed positive traces of bute (0.51%). In addition, Member States reported another 7,951 tests for the presence of horsemeat DNA performed by food business operators (producers, processors and distributors). Of these, 110 contained horsemeat DNA (1.38%). The positive samples found in relation to horsemeat DNA combined with the very low levels of bute detected represents a small part of the overall production in EU. These results correspond with the joint statement published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on 15 April 2013 which concluded that the risks associated to bute were of “low concern for consumers due to the low likelihood of exposure and the overall low likelihood of toxic effects and that, on a given day, the probability of a consumer being both susceptible to developing aplastic anaemia and being exposed to phenylbutazone was estimated to range approximately from 2 in a trillion to 1 in 100 million.”

Next steps

Following today’s presentation of these results to Member States experts, the European Commission and Member State experts will again meet on19 April to discuss amongst other issues whether this EU coordinated monitoring plan on controls, agreed on 19 February 2013, to investigate fraudulent practices and to enhance consumer confidence following the recent mislabelling of beef products containing horse meat should be extended.

A forthcoming Commission proposal reviewing the EU food chain legislative framework (the “animal and plant health package”) which includes proposals to strengthen official controls as well as providing a legal basis to impose dissuasive financial sanctions on food fraudsters are amongst the proposals, which should take into account the financial gain made out of such fraud.

Source: ec.europa.eu
Foto: wikipedia

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MEP Vasile Blaga: Romania has fulfilled for 11 years all the Schengen requirements and our acceptance is still delayed

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© Vasile Blaga/ Facebook

MEP Vasile Blaga, member of the Committee on Civil Liberties of the European Parliament, took the floor during today’s reunion of the LIBE Committee, June 15, and with this occasion touched, during his intervention, upon a “political aspect” throughout the debate on CMV.

“This political aspect refers to the integration of Romania in the Schengen area and the connection between CMV and the postponement of our entry into Schengen. I was the Minister of Internal Affairs who dealt with the removal of the safeguard clause and securing the frontiers regarding Romania’s adherence to the EU”, mention the MEP during the reunion.

Moreover, the liberal MEP pointed out that Romania administers almost 2000 kilometres of EU borders and has fulfilled for 11 years all the Schengen criteria: “nevertheless, Romania’s admission is delayed without openly specifying why. Of course, it was denied on multiple occasions that the integration in the Schengen area would be related to the criticism from the CVM reports. However, reality contradicts this. I believe that the postponement of a decision regarding Romania’s admission to Schengen is an unfair treatment which the European Union applies to my country”, he added.

“I would like to express my hope that the finalization of the CVM for Romania will remove any obstacle, declared or undeclared, to Romania’s integration into Schengen”, concluded Vasile Blaga.

The entire intervention of the MEP can be followed here.

The European Parliament adopted on July 8, with 505 votes for, 134 against and 54 abstentions, the annual report regarding the functioning of the Schengen area which claims, again, that Romania and Bulgaria have to be integrated with full rights into Schengen, while a specifying that Croatia meets all the technical requirements as well.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: The Romanian Government, determined to finalize all the necessary reforms for the suspension of the CVM

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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) participated today, July 15, at the reunion of the Committee on Civil Liberties of the European Parliament and specified Romania’s direction following the last CVM report.

“The last CVM report for Romania clearly shows that in Bucharest exists political volition the effective implementation of the last steps towards reforms which will lead to the suspension of this mechanism for Romania. During the 14 years of evaluation, we found ourselves in the thankless position of repairing the inherited matters from the previous governments, the case being the same today. The last CVM report puts forward Romania’s positive progress from the last 2 years. I emphasize the fact that in Bucharest we have a governmental coalition determined to finalize all necessary reforms”, explained Vasile Blagato his colleagues.

Moreover, the liberal MEP notes that Romania still campaigns for averting the double evaluation regarding the Mechanism of the rule of law: “I want to point out the fact that there is a true expectancy for the finalization of the Mechanism for cooperation and its verification and evaluation based on the same criteria applied to all member states, meaning through the Mechanism regarding the rule of law. Romania still pleads for the prevention of this double evaluation.”

The entire intervention of the MEP can be seen here.

The European Commission adopted on June 8 its most recent report regarding the evolution of the situation in Romania concerning the reforms of the judicial system and fight against corruption, in the context of the responsibilities assumed within the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), noting that Romania registered developments regarding all the recommendations of the CVM and that the fulfillment of all recommendations is essential for the closure of this mechanism.

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President Klaus Iohannis launches the national debate on the Future of Europe

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© Administrația Prezidențială

President Klaus Iohannis will host the official launch event of the national debate on the future of Europe on Tuesday, 13 July 2021, at the Cotroceni Palace, the Presidential Administration informs in a press release sent to CaleaEuropeană.ro.

The debate will also be attended by Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport, Prof. Valentin Naumescu, Faculty of European Studies, Babeș Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Prof. Alina Bârgăoanu, Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Public Relations, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, and Prof. Cristian Pîrvulescu, Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, National School of Political and Administrative Studies. The debate will be moderated by journalist Dan Cărbunaru, director of CaleaEuropeană.ro.

The event will start at 17:00 and will be broadcast LIVE on CaleaEuropeană.ro.

The event aims to debate the objectives and expectations related to the Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as to launch some reflection directions for the orientation of the citizens’ debates that will take place at national level on this topic.

During his speech, the President will refer to the topics of interest for the national debate on the future of Europe, a process which is intended to be primarily a dialogue with European citizens.

The main objective of the debate on the future of Europe will be to strengthen the European project for the benefit of all citizens.

On 9 May 2021, the symbolic launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe took place in Strasbourg. 

The conference is a forum for discussion and reflection on the future of Europe, involving European institutions, Member State governments, national parliaments, citizens, civil society, academia, social partners and other stakeholders.

Discussions related to the Conference on the Future of Europe will take place during 2021 and the first half of 2022 with a view to formulating guidelines for the future of the European Union.

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