Danes fight EU verdict on food additives

Government calls on Commission to reconcile single market with high safety standards

Within weeks of the EU's refusal to allow Denmark to impose stricter controls on certain food additives than allowed under European law (ENDS Daily 27 October), Danish agriculture minister Henrik Dam Kristensen has sent a 14-page letter to the European Commission serving notice that his government will not give up without a fight.

Mr Kristensen deplores what he describes as the EU's tendency to perpetuate "trade regulations based on the treaty's principle of free trade, which, in practice, often results in harmonisation at the lowest protection level". "This is increasingly seen as unsatisfactory both by primary producers, processors, distributors and consumers," he adds. "In the longer term, this is a threat to the citizens' acceptance of common legislation in these fields and thereby to the existence of the single market."

"Therefore, it is very important to ensure that the head start already achieved in food safety in individual member states is not jeopardised. Consequently, I would ask the Commission to come up with a proposition on how the single market could be made to more dynamically adapt the rules to the continuing intensification of the requirements and assumptions characterising developments in these areas in the individual member states so as to ensure that we maintain a high protection level in all member states."

The Danish government is widely reported to be considering taking its case to the European Court of Justice, which would have implication for a number of other countries, including Nordic neighbour Norway, which suffered a similar rejection by the Commission earlier this month (ENDS Daily 25 November).

Follow Up:
Danish agriculture ministry, tel: +45 33 92 33 01; Danish veterinary and food administration, tel: +45 33 95 60 00.

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