Lead Parliament committee backs legislation for fairer EU food chain

Today, the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee voted to protect food producers inside and outside the EU in key legislation to ban unfair trading practices in the EU’s food supply chain.

Oxfam’s Economic Justice lead, Marc-Olivier Herman, said:

“Human suffering should never be an ingredient of the food we eat, regardless of where it comes from. Unfair trading practices used by large buyers contribute to low incomes and poor working conditions for food producers around the world, and especially in developing countries.

“Oxfam welcomes the Agriculture Committee’s decision to protect food producers within and beyond the EU from unfair trading practices.

Fair Trade Advocacy Office’s Executive Director, Sergi Corbalan, said:

“Today marks an important first step towards a fairer food supply chain free from human suffering. Human rights abuses and poverty wages are unacceptable, regardless of whether the food producer is in Europe or beyond its shores.”

Notes to editors: 
  • Oxfam and FTAO spokespeople are available for interviews and background.
  • Timeline:
    • On 10 September, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted to remove protection for food producers outside the EU.
    • On 24 September, the Internal Market and Development Committees voted to protect food suppliers irrespective of whether they are based inside or outside the EU, and to extend the right to complain to civil society organisations working in food supply chains.
    • The final decision on this issue is determined by the agriculture committee, who is the lead committee for this file.The Council of Ministers also agreed its position at a meeting of the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) on 1 October. 
    • There will be an announcement of the outcome of the AGRI vote in the October II plenary of the EP (week of 22 October). The EP's plenary will not vote on the AGRI opinion unless a political group or at least 76 MEPs request a vote.
    • The trialogues with the Council and the Commission to agree on the final text of the Directive are expected to start on 24 October.
  • For further background, read Oxfam’s analysis of the EU proposal to ban unfair practices and a joint NGO background briefing on the issue.
  • Oxfam has recently launched a campaign to urge supermarkets and governments to crack down on inhumane working conditions, increase transparency about where our food comes from, tackle discrimination against women, and ensure a larger share of what consumers spend on food reaches the people who produce it.
  • The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out on behalf of the Fair Trade movement for Fair Trade and Trade Justice with the aim to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South.  The FTAO is a joint initiative of Fairtrade International, the European Fair Trade Association and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe. More information under: www.fairtrade-advocacy.org.
Contact information: 

Oxfam | Isabelle Rogerson | Brussels | isabelle.rogerson@oxfam.org | office +32 2 234 11 29

FTAO | Peter Möhringer | Brussels | moehringer@fairtrade-advocacy.org | office +32 2 543 19 23

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