Test Achats met with the Federal Minister of Agriculture Denis Ducarme Monday to discuss the limits of self-regulation and traceability problems, highlighted by the Veviba slaughterhouse sanitary scandal in Bastogne. The organization for the defense of consumers also questions the role of the Federal Agency for Food Chain Security.
The current traceability system of certain products in the food chain remains a problem, in particular for transformed products, underlines Test Achats. Several names are misleading, labels are incomplete, and examples of deliberately fraudulent practice are more than evident, according to the organization. “Today, every link in the chain is only responsible for what takes place ‘just before’ and ‘just after’ it intervenes. Therefore, there is not any global and consistent view of the traceability of a product. A windfall for scammers.”
The organization also discussed with the Minister of Agriculture, “the limits” of self-regulation. It believes that the principle cannot replace controls led by independent agencies, and that AFSCA should dispose of sufficient means to prevent scamming. According to Test Achats calculations, the total budget of the agency, however, has decreased by 11%, and the governmental grant by 18% between 2011 and 2016.
Furthermore, Test Achats wonders about the length of time between the complaint for economic fraud, end of 2016, and AFSCA’s conclusion that there is a problem at the sanitary level. “When a company does not hesitate to scam on the labels, one can seriously wonder if it is not scamming in other areas,” it concludes.
The Brussels Times