Dessislava Dimitrova, Coordinator of Slow Food in Bulgaria and Slow Food International Councillor for the Balkans, will attend a round table organized by DG SANTE called “Hygiene and Flexibility for Small Food Producers. Fit for Purpose?” taking place at 13 pm on Friday, June 12 in the EU Pavilion at Expo.
Tackling the issues of hygiene and flexibility measures for small-scale producers in the Food Hygiene Package is currently an important topic as several small-scale food producers face daily difficulties linked to the too stringent application of the rules. The Food Hygiene Package is a community legislation, which covers all stages of production, processing, distribution and placing on the market of food intended for human consumption. In order to protect food diversity and to meet the needs of small-scale producers, flexibility provisions were included in the legislation. These flexibility measures allow most traditional production techniques to survive, by shaping rigid laws to tradition. According to the principle of subsidiarity of the Food Hygiene Package, Member States are the actors who need to promote flexibility measures at the national level (since they are the best actors to find appropriate solutions based on local conditions) and encourage their implementation.
Slow Food has been working with the European Commission on this issue for years now in order to make the voice of civil society heard. This problem is particularly evident in the countries which have recently joined the EU, or are in the accession process. According to Dessislava Dimitrova, in the Balkan States, as part of the process of EU accession, too stringent policies are being introduced without the application of flexibility measures by the Members States. Local food producers are thus struggling to conform to these requirements that demand disproportionate investments suitable for large-scale industrial production and are thus often forced to work illegally or to close their business. This is why Slow Food, through the Terra Madre Balkans network and the ESSEDRA project, has been tackling the issue in the past three years.
The project ESSEDRA (Environmentally Sustainable Socio-Economic Development of Rural Areas) is co-funded by the European Union through DG Enlargement and aims to analyze the policy issues that are likely to affect small farmers’ production, and works in parallel with capacity building and advocacy on relevant legislation and policy processes together with nine civil society organizations based in the Balkan countries and Turkey.
For further information, please contact the Slow Food International Press Office:
Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285 [email protected]
Slow Food involves over a million of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food. This includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, experts and academics in 158 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide (known as convivia), contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize; and over 2,500 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.