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The global food system will face unprecedented pressures over the next 40 years. How will Europe cope?
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The Rapid Alert System
The origins of the European Union's early-warning system for contaminated food are as good as a spy novel.
In 1978 Dutch authorities intercepted Israeli oranges that had been injected with mercury by extremist groups. When the terrorist oranges turned up in West Germany, 140 million tonnes of citrus fruit from Israel were stopped from entering the European Economic Community (EEC).
The scare passed, but the incident had lasting consequences: in 1979 the eight members of the EEC created the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.
In its first year, the system was used just nine times. But use of the system rose steadily and accelerated earlier this century. In 2009 (figures for 2010 are not available), 3,322 official ‘notifications' passed through the RASFF machine, covering everything from undeclared milk in dark chocolate (risky for people with dairy allergies), to mouldy mycotoxins growing in cereals, coffee, nuts and spices, to unauthorised genetically modified material found in foods. This is actually fewer than the high of 7,000 notifications in 2007. The Commission attributes the decline to a sharper focus on the most serious risks.
ECj had ordered ruling on approval of GM crop.
MEPs expected to approve the deal because member states made some significant concessions.
Deal reached to fund EU agriculture subsidies for 2014-2020.
Trilogue talks continue today ahead of 30 September deadline.
Farm ministers will attempt to break an impasse on the remaining budgetary issues for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) during a meeting in Brussels on Monday (23 September).