Copa & Cogeca welcomed calls made at a public hearing for legislation to be introduced at EU level to tackle unfair trading practices in the food chain and to ensure a fair margin for producers.

Chairman of Copa & Cogeca Food Chain Working Party Joe Healy said “The very well respected UK adjudicator made it very clear today that statutory EU legislation is needed across the EU to combat UTPs because voluntary initiatives do not work. The price the farmer gets often does not even cover his production costs. Below cost selling must stop. The legislation also needs to be enforced by an independent body with the mandate to apply fines when rules are broken. We heard today how there has been an improvement already in the UK since legislation was enforced and fines were introduced worth up to 1% of a retailers turnover. One of the most common complaints has been delays in payments. Spain has also recently introduced legislation that works well and it’s a good model for the EU to build on”.

“We need a fair, transparent and well-functioning food supply chain. We need written contracts between producers, processors and retailers that are enforced to ensure farmers are given a fair price for their produce and are paid on time. Different initiatives are currently in place at national level but we need rules at EU level that can be enforced as large retailers are increasingly pan-European and regulation in one country will not prevent abuse across borders. We need to guarantee that the internal market is functioning properly. We welcome the fact that the Slovak Presidency has made the issue a priority under its Presidency and that MEPs have also made it clear that legislation is required. The EU Commission has indicated that its willing to consider introducing legislation and I want to see movement here”, he concluded.

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Copa Cogeca