With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for cooks and foodies.
As a cook or a ‘foodie’, you value products that are delicious, authentic and safe. Europeans enjoy a wide choice of top quality products, ranging from Greek olive oil, Spanish ham and Belgian chocolate, to Swedish herring. Thanks to the freedom of trading within the internal market, all of these products can be sold anywhere in the EU. You can be sure that the food is safe to eat because of EU food safety rules, strict limits for pesticide residues and mandatory information about allergens.
Some regional specialities have a long tradition and a reputation for high quality. EU quality logos protect such geographical products against cheating, so you know that a product sold as Parma ham is actually made in the Parma region according to quality standards.
Are you afraid that delicacies like bluefin tuna will disappear from the shelves, due to overfishing? Fishing quotas in EU waters are increasingly based on scientific criteria, to ensure that fish stocks have a chance to regenerate.
As a consumer, you are interested in what your food contains and how it is produced. EU rules ensure that food products are labelled with the ingredients and the nutritional value, and the EU organic label certifies that products satisfy strict rules regarding animal welfare and the use of pesticides and fertilisers.
In reaction to reports that branded products sold in new EU Member States use lower-quality ingredients than similarly branded products sold elsewhere, the European Commission issued guidelines to ensure that all consumers in the EU have access to the same high-quality products.
- EPRS publication ‘European Commission guidelines on dual quality of branded food products’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2017)608804
- Fact Sheets on the European Union: Food Safety,http://www.europarl.europa.eu/atyourservice/en/displayFtu.html?ftuId=FTU_2.2.6.html
- European Commission website on EU quality logos, https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes_en
- European Commission website ‘The organic logo guarantees’, https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/consumer-trust/certification-and-confidence/the-organic-logo-guarantees_en