The European organisations CopaCogeca, FoodDrinkEurope and Celcaa (the European Liaison Committee for Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade, of which Europatat is a member) have released a joint statement in which they assure that “Europe’s food supply chain will work closely together to ensure everybody in Europe continues to have access to safe, quality and affordable food and drink products during the Coronavirus pandemic”.
Europatat published the key points of the statement on its website:
- Preserving the Single Market is the best option to ensure a stable and safe food supply chain, and food security for everybody in Europe and beyond. We welcome the recent Commission guidelines on border management as a good first step. Despite these guidelines, however, we continue to face severe disruptions.
- We urge the Commission to work with Member States to explore ways to support the agrifood sector which has already, and will continue to, come under immense financial pressure. In particular, over the coming weeks and months we urge the Commission to consider Europe’s 11 million farmers, 4.7 million manufacturing workers, 294,000 food and drink businesses (including 22,000 agri-cooperatives) and 35,000 trading companies.
- We urge the Commission to work with Member States to monitor the potential lack of workers (including seasonal workers) and the knock-on impact on production, and to prepare contingency plans. The food supply chain should be regarded as an essential sector in all EU Member States.
- We urge the Commission to monitor the price of raw materials and transport as well as unfair trading practices.
- We urge the Commission to ensure any actions are science-led. The Commission should further communicate on the report by the European Food Safety Authority, which noted there is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus. Therefore, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agri-food sector remains committed to supplying all EU citizens with safe, nutritious, high quality and affordable food.
- Given the integration of the European food and feed sector markets, a continuous and enhanced coordination at European level is essential. In this regard, we express our full support for the work already carried out by the European institutions and their emphasis on the essential role of the food supply chain.