Moseley: Red tape may drive big business out of Europe

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety authority, European union, Eu

The regulatory hoops and time it takes manufacturers to get novel foods or health claims approved are putting the future of the EU’s food and drink sector in jeopardy, the new president of the Food and Drink Federation has warned.

In a interview with Food Manufacture prior to taking over from Ross Warburton as president, Jim Moseley, md of General Mills UK and Ireland, claimed that delays in getting novel foods approved and the large numbers of health claim rejections by the European Food Safety Authority, were starting to make it uneconomical for some multinational companies to innovate within the EU.

This could make them focus their attention on overseas markets in which it is easier to capitalise on such innovation, he warned. This would not only be to the detriment of investment in the EU, it would also be a loss to EU consumers who would miss out on the potential health and other benefits these products might provide, he added.

"[The approval process] is too lengthy; it's too slow and there is not sufficient resource given to it," said Moseley. He added that hobbling such a dynamic and resilient sector as food and drink in this way also endangered economic recovery in the EU.

"It just seems odd to me that you've got a [European] Commission (EC) all about growth; you've got an industry innovating to grow; and yet the barriers to that industry actually bringing those products on board are far too big and [the process] too long," he added.

Moseley also sits on the Board of the CIAA, the Confederation of Food and Drink Industries of the EU, which lobbies the EC on behalf of the sector.

"What I would try to find is a balance between what is in the best consumer interest, but also allows industry to be able to innovate and to do some different things," said Moseley.

"Some of the concerns about knock-backs on health claims are that it has gone too far and the time it takes to get through means that it is not worth innovating Some industries just can't afford that kind of gestation."

l See article on p24.

Related topics: Legal

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