Ref. Ares(2015)1606418 - 15/04/2015
Ref. Ares(2016)7049618 - 19/12/2016
15 April 2015
Open letter on TTIP blocking urgently needed reforms in food safety, farm production, workers' rights
and animal welfare
Dear Commissioners Andriukaitis, Hogan and Malmström,
We are writing to express our concerns about the dangers posed by the Transatlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership, TTIP, to the integrity of the EU’s food and farming system, the welfare of
workers in these sectors and the general public. Improvements are urgently needed in Europe’s food
production and farming practices for public health, environmental, animal welfare and worker safety
reasons, and TTIP not only threatens progress in these areas but also threatens to weaken current
While the quality and safety of food in Europe is arguably among the best in the world,
fundamental reforms are needed to adequately protect workers and the public and increase animal
welfare. We urgently need strong action on antimicrobial resistance. With intensive farming systems
heavily relying on antibiotics, we could be heading towards a massive public health crisis. We also need
to ensure that novel foods in all their forms are properly and carefully regulated. From GMOs to the
descendants of clones, these new products need to be subject to rigorous scientific assessment, as well
as public approval and guaranteed consumer choice, before entering the EU market.
TTIP will hinder us from achieving all of this because legislative priority will shift from ensuring and
valuing food safety and quality, workers’ rights and animal welfare to the maximisation of trade and,
consequently, the pursuit of lowest-common-denominator standards.
Furthermore, European policy governing food production fails to reflect the real costs of farming
and the impacts of our food consumption patterns on the environment – including greenhouse gas
emissions, water pollution, and the loss of soil fertility and biodiversity. We need fundamental reforms
of food and farming policies that prioritise environmentally sustainable methods of food production and
consumption, reducing the pressure on natural resources and making our food system resilient to
climate change. The food system must be transformed by putting local sustainable food economies at its
TTIP will hinder us from achieving this by promoting more trade in industrially produced food,
locking us into an unsustainable path, and will inhibit citizens’ access to more local and sustainable food
Improvements are also greatly needed in both the contract arrangements and working conditions
of the EU’s agricultural and food workers. Many working in these industries are in precarious
employment and on low pay. Precarious employment in all its forms involves job insecurity, a low level
of legal and labour law protection and deprives workers of the right and their capacity to ensure safe
working conditions and safe food.
If TTIP is agreed, these workers will be faced with increasingly precarious employment as they are
undercut by cheaper imports from the US. Regulatory convergence resulting from the trade agreement
would lower farming and food production standards and practices and will expose EU workers and
consumers to harmful chemicals currently banned from food production.
TTIP will hinder us from achieving all of this because legislative priority will shift from pursuing
high levels of sustainability and protection for citizens and the environment, to the maximisation of
trade and, consequently, the pursuit of lowest-common-denominator standards.
The TTIP agreement will cripple our ability to democratically undertake urgently needed reforms in
food safety, farm production, workers' rights and animal welfare, and in so doing goes against the needs
and rights of the majority of European and US citizens.
We ask you to re-consider the potential damage TTIP could cause in terms of blocking much-
needed reforms in food safety, food production, workers' rights and animal welfare.
Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive, Compassion in World Farming
Harald Weidenhofer,General Secretary, EFFAT
Todor Ivanov, Secretary-General EuroCoop
Magda Stoczkiewicz, Director Friends of the Earth Europe
Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director, HEAL
Paolo Di Croce, Secretary General of Slow Food