There are large differences between Europe and the USA in production and sale of food – as we have reported frequently.
The European side of TTIP negotiations seem to have ground to a halt, at least we are assured they have. But if you look at the interdependance in the background, things look quite different.
Our higher food safety standards are in danger of being eroded, because some US senators want to use their influence to facilitate the export of food into Europe. They want to equalize US and European standards, because as we (Netzfrauen) found out, at the moment no non-organic US apples can be introduced to the European market.
This posting is based on this original article: Europe Bans American Apples, Fearing The Pesticide Used To Treat Them Is Carcinogenic.
During our research we came across a petition from our neighbours in Austria, where there is massive opposition towards TTIP, with Greenpeace Austria collecting signatures. Their petition is hope to make the Austrian government veto TTIP. To stop TTIP, it would be enough if only one out of the 28 member states disagreed.
To understand the motivation of the US you should read the article mentioned above. The main points are: Most US Americans are not aware that 80% of their apples are treated with diphenylamine (DPA). The producers of this pesticide compound could not satisfy the questions of European administrators about health safety, especially about the traces of cancerogenic nitrosamines in the treatment chemicals. DPA itself can cause kidney and blood cell damage and is not easily rinsed off. Therefore the sale of US apples in Europe was banned, which could cost US apple farmers 20 million $ per year.
We were positively surprised to learn that the European Commission seems to be interested in public health issues. But we also found guidelines for the import of organic US apples. There is in effect a so-called equivalence treaty between the EU and the USA. At the „Biofach 2012“ exhibition both parties announced to have agreed on their respective eco standards to be equivalent. This treaty came into effect on 2012-06-01.
The only differences apply to three product groups:
Livestock from aqua culture farming does not have to comply with eco standards because they cannot be certified according to NOP (national organic program) yet.
The US allows antibiotics in plants from the rose family (among others apples and pears) in organic farming, the EU does not.
The US prohibit the use of antibiotics in livestock farming, while the EU allos it under certain conditions.
Since this treaty came into effect, the following rules for imports from the US have existed:
NOP certified products can be introduced into the EU market, if:
The last packaging step took place in the US.
The goods were registered for import control.
The lack of application of any antibiotics on rose family plants is confirmed.
The labelling stipulations of the EU are adhered to.
Goods from third party states can be imported into the USA or the EU, if they are certified to the respective standards. The equivalence treaty only covers goods produced or packaged within the EU or the USA.
That means that raisins from Turkey e. g. can only be directly exported to the US if they have been certified according to the NOP. But if they are introduced into the EU market and repackaged and relabelled here, they can be sold on the US market witouth the NOP certificate. The same applies to NOP certified Mexican corn which has been imported into the USA and repackaged there. Afterwards it can be sold in the EU as organic corn.
We all know that resistance towards TTIP is increasing. We ask you to keep informing all your neighbours and acquaintances about its dangerous consequences. Write letters to your governments, sign national petitions. Each successful petition could be the key to getting your political representatives to veto TTIP.
We are not about to give up – please keep going!
Written by Netzfrau Andrea Carls
Translation by Angela Carstensen