Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-07-22-Speech-4-081"

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". The issue that we are dealing with during this constitutive session is an extremely serious one: that of the dioxin crisis. I am pleased that it features on our agenda and that representatives of the European Commission and the Council spoke on this matter this morning at the request of our Assembly. The scandal of chickens and other animals being contaminated by dioxin, this carcinogenic substance, brought back very bad memories for all consumers. This is the unpleasant impression for many of us, of having been through this scenario before – a scenario in which consumers are the last to find out what they are eating, and yet whose health is at serious risk. The vote for this resolution is a genuine sign of the will of the European Parliament to get to the very bottom of this business and to answer consumers" legitimate concerns. At the time of the mad cow crisis, the European Parliament did not spare any effort to have measures adopted for the protection of consumers. Through its Temporary Committees of Enquiry, it followed with great vigilance the way the European Commission and the Member States managed the crisis. Its efficiency has been unanimously recognised by all European institutions. This is why I, like many of my colleagues, feel that we must set up a Temporary Committee of Enquiry on the dioxin crisis. Short-term solutions must be found in order to resolve problems caused by the contamination of foodstuffs in Belgium, and in the longer term, debate must be started on the many questions first thrown up by the mad cow crisis and which are again coming to the fore because of this new food crisis. I am thinking, for example of the Belgian government"s lack of transparency in alerting the European Commission so late, and of the lack of information which was given to consumers. On a more global scale, the question being asked is ‘what kind of food policy do we want within the European Union?’. The European Parliament, as well as numerous consumer associations, has been able to give answers which are also ways forward for thinking about a new definition of the European Union"s approach to food. This must uphold the interests of consumers, it must ensure that the precautionary principle prevails over all other principles, and it must set up an integrated inspection of the food chain in its entirety, from producer to consumer. This traceability is essential for food safety. This is, therefore, a global debate which we Members of the European Parliament must sustain throughout the next legislature. It must cover dioxin, hormones and GMOs which are all very controversial issues."@en1

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