Minister dubs Afsca an obstacle to efforts to production and consume local in Wallonia
Monday, 14 August 2017
The current rules of Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, Afsca, are an obstacle to a successful transition to ecological food production in Wallonia, the region’s Minister of Environment and Ecological Transition, Carlo Di Antonio, is quoted as saying in Monday’s issue of Le Soir newspaper. Unless that transition succeeds, efforts to encourage people to “consume Walloon” will be in great difficulty, warned Di Antonio, who is from the centrist Centre démocrate humaniste (cdH – Humanist Democratic Centre) party. He called for a generalization of rational productions that respect consumers, farmers, the environment and animals, but said Afsca remained, in his eyes, “a big problem”.
Di Antonio said it was indispensable to have specific rules – instead of simply adapting general rules – for artisans who produce and transform, small livestock farmers or school canteens. “Remember the episodes of rice pudding or Herve cheese. Afsca is putting pressure on a sector that has never caused any major problem other than the occasional indigestion,” he indicated. “The general rules generate a resource obligation that make the economic equation impossible: when you have to invest 25,000 euros to transform a bit of milk into yoghurt or cheese, that’s no good.”
“The overly stringent demands, applied fastidiously, have led to the disappearance of many artisans,” said the minister, who described Afsca as “a obstacle to the development of small and medium-sized agro-food industries”.