European Poultry Meat is part of the solution

European Poultry Meat is part of the solution

Date published:  20 May 2020

The response of AVEC on the newly proposed Farm to fork strategy

The European Poultry Meat Sector supports the ambition of the EU Commission of making the EU food system more sustainable by designing a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system in the EU – and we are ready to take up the challenge to demonstrate that the EU Poultry Meat sector is part of the solution.

Poultry meat has a low carbon footprint … and it is both nutritious and affordable.
Our sector has already achieved good results when it comes to sustainability, on areas such as environmental performance, animal welfare, reduction of antibiotic usage and biosecurity.

Unfortunately, we have the feeling that these efforts are not completely recognized in the new “F2F” strategy. There is a tendency to blame the livestock sector as the sole responsible for climate change without recognizing its benefits. Livestock production represents less than 6 % of the total EU emissions – other sectors outside agriculture contribute a lot more.

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak shows the critical need to strengthen the sustainability and resilience of our societies. While we acknowledge that the new “F2F” strategy has reiterated the importance of food security, we fear that the new set of demands resulting from this initiative will jeopardize the productivity of our farmers/producers and ultimately deteriorate the EU food security, that has proven its resilience in the last few months.

European animal-source products are known worldwide for their safety and quality, their high animal health and welfare standards, the excellence in animal breeding, animal nutrition and better and more efficient use of resources. We are good at producing more with less. For this to continue – It is of outmost importance that the European Commission will ensure that the coming legislative procedure will be building on objective facts and science; that thorough impact assessments will be made and that all the relevant stakeholders will be heard.

We welcome the ambitious targets on the reduction on the use of antibiotics. Nevertheless, it will be important to acknowledge the efforts that have already been performed. In several EU countries there has already been a significant reduction in the use of antibiotics in the poultry production. The frontrunners should not be penalized by their early and successful action.

When it comes to trade, we foresee that the new demands will reinforce the position of third countries to the detriment of EU producers. The proposal for “enhanced cooperation” with trade partners tends to reinforce this fear. It is difficult for the European producers to accept that they are faced with further demands while cheaper poultry meat – which does not meet these standards – are imported in a very large scale. Already today, 25 % of the breast poultry meat consumed in the EU is coming from 3rd countries.

In relation to imports we deplore the lack of ambition regarding labelling of origin throughout the whole supply chain. We need labelling at EU level (EU/Non EU) for all products containing poultry (for processed products) but also (and especially) when you eat in restaurants / canteens / schools (all in all the HORECA channel), where most of imports from 3rd countries are served. The consumers deserve to know when their poultry meat is not produced under strict EU rules in all channels of production.

As a conclusion AVEC would like to reiterate that the goal of our producers is to bring high quality poultry meat, which is affordable and sustainably produced to the table of EU citizens. Therefore, we are committed to work in close collaboration with the Commission to make sure that our goal will be promoted in the upcoming legislative proposals that will come out of this initiative.

For further information please contact:
Birthe Steenberg, Secretary General
Mobile: +32 492 10 75 71