Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-07-22-Speech-4-082"

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". Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, in Germany we have a saying: ‘ ’, i.e., ’What the eye cannot see, the heart cannot grieve over’. At a personal level, this holds true, but when it comes to consumer protection, this maxim can not apply. The dioxin scandal has once again demonstrated that an open information policy is an essential prerequisite for effective and comprehensive consumer protection. The irresponsible behaviour of the Belgian authorities and the withholding of information relating to animal feed and foodstuffs contaminated with dioxins have shaken consumer confidence permanently. Consumers must be able to feel confident that they will not be presented with health-endangering foodstuffs. This equally applies to farmers as regards animal feed. They obtain their feed from industrial enterprises and do not have the opportunity to inspect these products for harmful substances. They must also be able to have the confidence that the animal feed is completely untainted. On the one hand, this clarifies the responsibility of the competent authorities which are responsible for inspecting products and, on the other, makes it clear that the dioxin scandal is not a problem nor a mistake on the part of agriculture. It is solely a failure on the part of industry. Farmers, along with consumers, are the ones who have suffered as a result of this scandal. Through no fault of their own, it is the farmers who have to accept heavy losses and who must also carry the burden of trying to win back the trust of the consumers. Healthy feed is a precondition for healthy animals and thereby also for healthy foodstuffs. Equally, it is a prerequisite for a flourishing farming industry with good operating profits. Like other products, animal feed and foodstuffs could also be traded throughout the European Union without boundaries. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, it is important that consumer safety is safeguarded by the Member States and the European Union. European standards exist in the area of foodstuffs, ensuring that products are properly inspected. Similar monitoring should also be put in place for animal feed. The dioxin scandal has clearly demonstrated one thing – if animal feed, as the first link in the food chain, is contaminated, the inspection of foodstuffs comes too late."@en1

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