The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) has criticised the "ineptitude" of the European Commission (EC), following what the trade body says was a poorly planned one-off advertisement aimed at reassuring UK consumers about the safety of fresh produce.
The FPC said that the EC's ‘What’s on the menu this summer?’ advertisement in the Metro commuter magazine today, "makes no reference to UK businesses and will do nothing to help them or restore consumers’ confidence in fresh produce”.
“The Commission is definitely off the menu as far as UK businesses are concerned, having damaged the fresh produce industry through unfounded and premature links between fresh produce and the recent E.coli outbreaks,” FPC ceo Nigel Jenney added.
“A single advertisement run for one day in a commuter magazine is not going to have a significant impact on the UK population as a whole,” he said.
“The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has failed to ensure that its voice has been heard in support of the industry. The EC needs to do far better than this to put right its mistakes. We have called on the EC to take responsibility for its bungling management of the recent E.coli outbreaks.”
The FPC said it had contacted the EC to highlight ways it could support UK businesses, and its recommendations include:
1. Removing fresh peas and beans from the current EU ban on Egyptian imports.
2. Providing direct compensation to all UK businesses adversely affected, not just growers of a limited selection of products.
3. Working more closely with the fresh produce industry to develop immediately a more targeted and effective promotional campaign.