Freshfel Headlines

Freshfel Europe Headlines – Edition 5, 2020 

Stephan Weist re-elected as Freshfel Europe President

During Freshfel Europe’s Statutory Annual General Meeting on 29 September 2020, Mr Stephan Weist (Rewe Group) was re-elected President of Freshfel Europe for another mandate of two years. Salvo Laudani (Oranfrizer/Fruitimprese) was also appointed for a second mandate as Vice-President and Marc De Naeyer (Trofi) as Treasurer. The Annual Statutory meeting was the opportunity for Freshfel Eruope General Delegate Philippe Binard to present the Freshfel Activity report covering the Association’s activities over the last twelve months, which is available on the Freshfel Europe website.

Freshfel Europe Annual Event with AREFLH “The Road Ahead: A sector fit for future challenges”

Alongside the Statutory AGM of Freshfel Europe, a joint policy event was organized with AREFLH to review the latest developments impacting fresh produce business, such as Brexit uncertainties, the new challenges of the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy and the COVID-19 pandemic with key policy leaders. 150 delegates attended this digital policy conference, which featured key decision makers from the European Commission and European Parliament.

The event keynote speech was delivered by Commissioner for Agriculture Wojciechowski underlining the resilience of the sector during the pandemic to secure on-going supply to European consumers thanks to a good functioning of the supply chain. He also underlined the measures adopted by the European Commission to unlock border delays and facilitate movement of seasonal workers. Looking ahead, the Commissioner also reviewed the next steps for the CAP reform and the opportunities that could result from the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy given the environmental and healthy assets of fresh produce. Other speakers included MEP Dorfmann and MEP Paolo De Castro as well as deputy Director General of DG SANTE Claire Bury and deputy Director General of DG AGRI Michael Scannell. Their perspective of the latest and upcoming policy developments were highly appreciated by the participants. To conclude, IGD market analyst presented the state of play of grocery market as a result of the pandemic, looking at the macroeconomic outlook, the impact of recession, the future of food service, the evolution of shopper behaviour and shift towards ecommerce. More information about the 2020 Annual Event is available here

Freshfel Europe & ESSA join forces to kick start multi-level food crisis management collaboration & dialogue

On 2 September 2020, over 200 industry and public sector stakeholders from across Europe and beyond gathered at ESSA and Freshfel Europe’s Food Crisis Management Event to analyse former as well as hypothetical food crisis situations, the lessons learnt from them, and best crisis response approaches. Business operators, crisis management experts, national authorities and European Commission officials discussed the reputational damage and health hazards that former or hypothetical food crises have represented. As a multi-level and multi-sectorial event, the Food Crisis Management Event showcased ESSA and Freshfel Europe’s commitment to facilitate structures and coordination within and between private companies, sectorial associations and institutions dedicated to food crisis management. The long-term vision of the organisers was to foster cooperation between stakeholders to better manage potential future crises in the agri-food sector, with a view to further developing effective crisis strategies, and raising awareness of crisis management good practices.

The meeting reviewed, with the support experts, the management of former food crisis situations, namely food hygiene and food fraud cases. The meeting also dedicated discussions to hypothetical future crisis scenarios and how they should be managed by actors across the supply chain in conjunction with national authorities and the European Commission. Inspired by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the last panel discussion focused on the role of misinformation in the management of food crises.

Jose Antonio Garcia

Freshfel Europe Board member Jose Antonio Garcia reappointed CDG Horticulture Chair 

Freshfel Europe Board member Jose Antonio Garcia (Ailimpo) was reappointed to chair the European Commission Civil Dialogue Group (CDG) for Horticulture (section Fruit and Vegetables) for the next year. The CDG met on 25 September 2020 and reviewed the latest CAP developments, including the legislative proposal and transition measures, rules of origin for ready to eat and kitchen ready products, new EIB financial instruments under rural development and the European Commission COVID-19 response. The state of play of the Farm to Fork Strategy was discussed at length with the Commission services as well as the implementation of Traces, the electronic transmission of plant health certificates. The agenda also included several trade issue such as Brexit and Boeing-Airbus cases with counter sanction affecting fresh produce. A presentation was also made on the importance of non-crop vegetation in fruit.

Freshfel Europe holds second Webinar Series for Members & Associated Members

Freshfel Europe is holding Webinar Series for its members and associated members in place of its normal working group meetings. This new online meeting format allows members to join webinars that are most relevant for their business from across Europe and abroad. In July Freshfel Europe held its first Webinar Series, which composed of the following webinars:

Webinar on Legislation Processes and Timelines PPPs and MRLs: On 15 September 2020 Director Food quality Eglë Baecke gave a webinar to Freshfel Europe members on Plant Protection Products and Maximum Residue Levels: legislation processes and timelines. The objective of the webinar was to provide an overview and clarifications on the European Union’s legislative steps when active ingredients lose their authorisation status and as a following result the maximum residue levels are being reduced. During the webinar an explanatory note was presented and will be shared with the members once its finalised. As the compliance with the food safety standards is very important, Freshfel Europe hopes that this explanatory note will bring some clarify for its members and will help to better understand legislative procedures and estimate legislative timelines. As the online event was well attended by members, the presentation followed with a discussion.

Webinar on Understanding the Flemish Fruit & Vegetable Sticker Legislation: On 29 September 2020 Freshfel Europe Sustainability Policy Advisor Nicola Pisano gave a webinar to Freshfel Europe members on Understanding the Flemish Fruit and Vegetable Sticker Legislation. Freshfel Europe members were provided with an update on the implementation of the legislation and how it will operate within the broader EU legislative framework as well as other Member State legislation. Part of the webinar was dedicated to discussion between Freshfel Europe members on how implementation practicalities for different operators.

Freshfel Europe meets Chief Trade Enforcement Officer Mr. Denis Redonnet

On 15 September, Freshfel’s Trade Policy Advisor Natalia Santos-Garcia Bernabe took part in a meeting organised by the agri-food trade umbrella association CELCAA with the recently appointed EU Chief Trade Enforcement Officer, Denis Redonnet. During the meeting, Mr. Redonnet discussed the reorganization work of DG TRADE, which should reinforce the EU’s ability to tackle trade barriers and to implement FTAs more effectively, by streamlining prioritization of dossiers and resources, and ensuring a more systematic use of enforcement tools available. This should allow for more efficient work on market access as well as on the implementation of sustainability provisions in EU FTAs and other international agreements.

Discussions also revolved around EU-USA trade relations, where the CELCAA Secretariat echoed the interest of businesses to resolve disputes to stop negative effects on agri-food trade. Moreover, Freshfel stressed the need for the EU to take effective action to tackle violations of bilateral agreements to prevent situations like the Algerian ban on fresh produce. Freshfel also asked the CTEO to step up work on the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, an area to which more resources should be devoted.

Freshfel Europe participates in the Symposium of ANIADE and MAPA on plant health

Freshfel Europe General Delegate participated to the Symposium on plant health organized by the Association of the State Agriculture Ingenieur of Spain (ANIADE) with the support of the Plant Health department of the Ministry of Agriculture. This Symposium was organized on the occasion of the International Year of Plant Health of FAO/IPPC. Along with other speakers from the Spanish Ministry and of the Association, Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard made a presentation on the relevance of plant health on the international market. The presentation highlighted what the sector is doing for plant health, where support is needed and the way forward.

Freshfel Europe replies to EU Questionnaire on the future of EU trade policy

On 14 September 2020 Freshfel Europe replied to the European Commission questionnaire on the revision of the EU’s Trade Policy. The reply to this 15-question survey were based on Freshfel Europe’s position paper of July 2020 on the EU trade & investment policy review, which was prepared together with members and discussed in Freshfel Europe’s webinar on 2 July 2020. In its answer to the EU questionnaire, Freshfel Europe stressed the importance of both imports and exports for the economic sustainability of the sector. The response also underlined the need to tackle sanitary and phytosanitary barriers and the importance of trade enforcement and international cooperation to ensure a fair environment for fresh fruit and vegetable trade. The contribution of fresh produce trade to the green and digital transitions was also elaborated.

Freshfel Europe responds to European Commission roadmap consultation on revision of Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

From June-August the European Commission carried out an Inception Impact Assessment for the roadmap on a proposal for a directive on ‘Reducing packaging waste – review of rules’. This proposal will revise Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste as outlined in its previous 2018 edition. Freshfel Europe has actively contributed to the European Commission consultation process since 2019 with dialogue with European Commission officials on scoping studies and participation in stakeholder workshops. Packaging plays an extremely important role for the fresh produce sector and is commonly used for: product containment; extend shelf life; prevent food spoilage and waste; prevent microbiological contamination; product information display; consumption promotion; consumption facilitation, and enhance consumer confidence. In its response to this preliminary roadmap consultation, Freshfel Europe expressed its concern by some of the policy options which may have unintended consequences for the sector and future use of packaging. Freshfel Europe underlined that packaging is an essential functional aspect of the fresh fruit and vegetable sector and that review of measures to reduce the generation of packaging and packaging waste should particularly focus on waste reduction. Freshfel Europe Sustainability Policy Advisor Nicola Pisano will coordinate the Association’s response in collaboration with members to the subsequent public consultation for the proposal.

Freshfel Europe responds to European Commission roadmap consultation on substantiating green claims

Over summer the European Commission began the consultation process for a proposal for a regulation on ‘Environmental performance of products and businesses – substantiating claims’. This initiative will require companies to substantiate claims they make about the environmental footprint of their products/services by using standard methods for quantifying them. For over two years Freshfel Europe has followed the European Commission’s development of policy in the area of Life Cycle Analysis and environmental footprint studies. In its response, headed by Freshfel Europe Sustainability Policy Advisor Nicola Pisano, Freshfel Europe expressed its support for this new initiative, which will in the long term through the creation of more accurate and comparable measurement and data facilitate the minimization of the environmental footprint of products consumed by European citizens and work towards the EU’s overall policy objective of climate neutrality by 2050. Freshfel Europe is now preparing its response to the public consultation open until the beginning of December.

Freshfel Europe contributes to the evaluation of the EU agricultural promotion policy

Freshfel Europe submitted its feedback to the public consultation launched by European Commission to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of the EU agricultural promotion policy. During the feedback period of the public consultation, which ended on 11 September 2020, a wide range of participants such as public authorities, stakeholders, implementing organisations, and individuals were invited to respond to a questionnaire and elaborate their answers with a position paper.

The public consultation assessed the new set of policy instruments introduced by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform in 2014, which aim to enhance viable food production, environmental performance and balanced territorial development of EU agriculture. In its response to the public consultation, Freshfel Europe focused on the disparity in the management of multi and simple programmes, the visibility of national and regional origin labelling, the eligibility of products and proposing organisations, the value of the Commission’s own initiatives, the need for budgetary flexibility, and the implications of the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy. The final version of the evaluation is currently planned for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Freshfel Europe as part of the IAG of the IPPC ephyto Solution calls on governments to support the adoption of ePhyto to facilitate international agricultural trade

On 9 September 2020 Freshfel Europe took part in the elaboration and distribution of the first press release from the Industry Advisory Group (IAG) of the IPPC ePhyto Solution. The statement urged governments to support the adoption of the ePhyto to facilitate international agricultural trade, a crucial element to safeguard global food security beyond the Covid-19 recovery period.

The press release stresses the responsibility of governments and policy makers to ensure the sustainability of the project until it is fully operational, and that all types of economies are integrated, including necessary capacity development. Concretely, three priority actions are emphasized by the IAG: 1) Support an all-encompassing adoption of a fully functioning ePhyto exchange model, with the proactive involvement of the entire supply chain, and no requirements to maintain paper certificates; 2) the need for private sector operators to continue to practice well-established, efficient and safe trade, and 3) government engagement with IAG industry representatives working around the world to provide practical insights on the commercial impacts of the system via the “industry case studies”, to contribute to a strong IPPC ePhyto Solution.

Follow me to be Healthy with Europe: the #400gChallenge continues over summer

The “Follow me to be Healthy with Europe” campaign, launched by Freshfel Europe, Aprifel, and the European Commission continued to encourage young Europeans to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables to a minimum of 400g a day over the summer. In August, the participants of the “400g challenge” caught up with Johanne and Mehdi, who shared what fruit and vegetabes they were packing to go on holiday.

The “Follow me to be Healthy with Europe” campaign celebrated its first anniversary in July, and the September video saw Janelle and Gaëlle recapping what the 400g challenge has meant for them throughout the first year. Using the hashtag #400gChallenge, followers are ‘challenged’ to include more fruit and vegetables in their daily diet. These challenges are promoted by monthly infographics, tips, and videos, which showcase the health benefits of fruit and vegetables in an engaging and relatable format across the campaign’s six social media channels. You can join the #400gChallenge today by following the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and visiting the official website of the campaign.

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