With an accelerating population growth, the food industry has become one of the most profitable businesses in the world. Therefore, as it usually happens in every business, producers have found ways in which they would minimise production costs while maximising their profits. Food fraud, a term which has been used to explain intentional action by business or individuals for the purpose of deceiving purchasers and gaining undue advantage, has become more prevalent in Europe and all around the world. Today, the EU finds companies who commit food fraud in violation of the rules referred to in Union’s agri-food chain legislation. By infringing these guidelines, one may significantly hinder the market itself, but also cause considerable harm to human health and welfare. From mislabelling, substituting, diluting, and counterfeiting, food fraud has drawn worldwide attention as it caused many scandals and resulted in hundreds of thousands of fatalities.
As experts have warned that food, among which the most groceries such as milk, as well as honey and olive oil, can be counterfeited in various ways for the benefit of industries, this panel will seek to explore the ways in which this occurs, way in which customers are put at risk, and what has been done to sanction the ones found in violation. Furthermore, as there have been several recent cases of food fraud in Serbia, the panellists will discuss how can Serbia make steps forward in legislating this issue and how the EU can play a role in the process. Moreover, the panellists will be asked to reflect on the fact why Serbia has failed to open Chapter 12 – Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Policy and to describe how they see this trend of food fraud evolving in the context of an acceding EU country.
As this issue poses a threat to the everyday life of citizens, all while being very detailed and complex, the aim of the event is to gather relevant experts who could untangle what has been done so far in these areas and what remains to be done to make sure Serbia’s agriculture and food sector becomes safer and not just a profitable business for the producers. To get multi-layered answers to the problematique, the panellists will come from the state sector, civil society, and academia.
The speakers are the following:
- Eva Siegener, Investigator, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE)
- Representative, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy
- Mladen Alfirović, Legal Adviser, National Consumer Organization of Serbia (NOPS)
- Dr Rodoljub Živadinović, president, Association of Beekeeping Organizations Of Serbia (SPOS)
- Dragan Roganović, President, Governing Board, Network for Rural Development of Serbia
Moderator: Dušan Protić, Programme Manager for Internal Market and Competitiveness, European Policy Centre – CEP
The working languages of the panel discussion will be Serbian and English, and simultaneous translation will be provided. Please register here. Only registered participants will receive a link to access the event.
The discussion is part of a series of debates organised by the EU Delegation with the CEP, which aims to bring citizens closer to topics related to the EU accession process and give them the opportunity to discuss them themselves. The events are open to the media and the interested public.