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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 08:09 GMT
EU growth sparks food fears
Supermarket shopping
Supermarket products are already of varied origin
A food agency chief has warned that welcoming new members could bring down food standards across the European Union.

The chairman of the Food Standards Agency, Sir John Krebs, said consumers could face risks from fraudulent traders and contaminated food unless standards were upheld.

Sir John said European enlargement would bring consumer benefits but also new dangers.

The EU last year agreed a formal invitation to 10 countries.

Health standards

But Sir John said there were a number of food manufacturers in the prospective new member states which did not meet EU standards.

He said these would have to be closed or upgraded - creating opportunities for fraud or accidental contamination in the meantime.

Some milk processing plants had temporary dispensations to produce milk that did not meet EU public health standards.

Prospective new members
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Estonia
Hungary
Latvia
Lithuania
Malta
Poland
Slovakia
Malta
Slovenia

Sir John warned of problems if properly-produced milk was mixed with the milk that did not comply.

Following the historic agreement to expand the union some years ago, the EU had formally invited 10 more countries to join.

These new members still had to jump through more hurdles, for both the EU and within their own parliaments before gaining full membership by about 2004.

They were formally invited to join the EU in December last year.

A series of referendums in the candidate countries must take place as well as ratification by the parliaments of the 15 EU member states.


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04 Nov 02 | Health
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