During the European Vegetable Strategies event a new direction was present for the ECPA. "It is time to change and renew the contribution of crop protection agent industry," says Dr. Monica Roth of the ECPA. "The Hungry4Change initiative is intended to provide noticeable changes in four areas: the protection of water, improvement of biodiversity, provision of safe and affordable food and protection of health. ECPA wants to provide solutions to current problems in the agrarian sector such as climate change, environmental problems, population growth and crisis. The project vision is: "Raise the consumer trust in food safety."

High food safety
The food safety in Europe is already very high. In recent years the number of cases with a higher MRL has decreased. The most recent annual report by the EFSA shows that in 2011 97.5% of the 79,000 samples of food were within the MRL level allowed within the EU. She believes this is good, but still too low. "It is good news for the European consumers, the growers and the fruit and vegetable sector. It shows the high level of food safety we enjoy in Europe. We're not there yet, and still have enough to do. These violations were mainly found in products from outside of the EU." 

Projects in Spain and Turkey
At the moment the ECPA is involved in various projects. "What is new on the plans are Spain and Turkey. We have been busy with two pilots for contributing in minimising residues of crop protection agents there since 2013. Concrete measures will be implemented here to prevent MRL violations." She believes Spain has developed a lot in this area in recent years, but Turkey still has a lot of work to do. "There are still too many MRL violations reported among fruits and vegetables from this country."

In Spain, in the region Almeria, work is being done with the RMP (Residue Management Project) and the best practices are being developed. "These steps can also be used in other countries. First, preventative measures are taken, then there is technological control, organic control and finally, chemical control. The advisers from Turkey are being trained in Spain and this year they will transfer knowledge to growers in their day to day work. An important step for our sector."