The imminent enlargement of Europe is littered with potential complications, and none more so than for the food and drink industry.
An industry-backed event focusing on three major industry sectors - meat, dairy and fruit juices - this week will gather government representatives and industry participants together to define actions on food safety in a wider Europe.
The seminar - organised by the CIAA that represents the €600 billion food and drink industry - falls into the context of the Business Support Programme (BSP) carried out by the CIAA with the support of the EU Phare programme. The aim of the project being to contribute to an 'effective implementation of EU food safety standards on the ground and to raise awareness of EU acquis in CEEC', said the CIAA.
Sessions on the cards at the seminar will be devoted to the various aspects of food safety, such as auto-control systems and methodologies to ensure food safety, implementation of HACCP, Good Manufacturing Practices, certification, audits and crisis management.
From 1 May 2004 all products commercialised throughout the enlarged EU or exported to third countries will have to conform with EU food law requirements. Now that most of the EU food regulations have been transposed into national laws, CEEC industries have to apply them and the national authorities will have to control their effective implementation.
According to a statement this week, through the BSP project, the CIAA aims to provide CEEC companies with practical information, training and direct technical support on the application of these regulations and on the implementation of methodologies to ensure food safety.The seminar marks the first of a series of actions to be undertaken at a European and local level.