Ref. Ares(2016)3157708 - 01/07/2016
Ref. Ares(2016)7049618 - 19/12/2016
Federation of Swedish Farmers
July 1, 2016
Commissioner Cecilia Malmström
Commissioner Phil Hogan
Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis
Three issues ahead of the 14th round of TTIP
The Federation of Swedish Farmers, LRF, has approached the Commission on
the issue of TTIP before. Last together with our Finnish counterparts (letter of
March 31, 2015). Ahead of the 14th round of negotiations LRF would like to
highlight some specific issues within the negotiations where Swedish farmers
are particularly worried about the outcome at this stage.
As we see it:
* EU-US bilateral trade should be free from meat and meat-products coming
from production systems where antibiotics are used to promote animal growth.
*The European pre-farm to fork approach and not chemical decontamination
should rule in EU-US meat trade.
*There should be no trade-offs that bring about higher market access for
sensitive products into the EU in exchange for an agreement on Geografical
Indications (GIs) 1 )No antibiotics as growth promoters in EU-US meat trade .
Restrictive use of
antibiotics is essential for sustainable agricultural production and to safeguard
public health. We therefore consider that the US use of antibiotics must be part
of the TTIP discussion in the same way as hormones and beta agonists. High
use of antibiotics is often the result of poor animal husbandry and welfare.
Today, it is virtually impossible to find science not talking about the risks of
emergence of resistant bacteria from overuse of antibiotics. The use within EU
will be more restricted with the new regulation to be decided soon.
We support the Commission’s approach towards consumers’ concerns on
differing legislation and standards in the food sector. We have noted the
Commission stating that present EU policy on growth promoters, such as
hormones and beta agonists (i.e ractopamine and zilpaterol)will not be
changed. This is good.
Federation of Swedish Farmers
Lantbrukarnas Ekonomi AB
Exch +46 (0)
Reg. Office Stockholm
Vat No SE556032926901
However we have not seen the same clear Commission position on the US use
of antibiotics as growth promoters. In the US the use antibiotics to promote the
growth of animals has long been common and a natural way of production.
Producers still do not need a prescription from a veterinarian, hopefully change
is on its way.
In the EU prescription from a veterinarian is compulsory and the use to
promote growth is forbidden. Over 80 percent of the antibiotics assessed in the
United States are used to chickens, turkeys, pigs, cattle and other farm animals.
In Sweden 16 percent of the antibiotics sold are for animals.
A report ordered by the OECD points out that the consumption of antibiotics
will grow immensely if we don´t alter the way we breed our animals. With no
major changes the global consumption of antimicrobials in farm animals is
projected to rise by two-thirds by 2030 to over 100 000 tons yearly.
Reports from both US department of Agriculture and OECD have shown that
the cost of change is relatively low in countries like the US where hygienic
standards are already high. The EU and the US must take the lead towards
using antibiotics only when animals are sick. Therefore the EU has a
responsibility to keep a high profile on the issue in the context of the TTIP.
There is a consumer and policy movement in the US towards a more restrictive
use of antibiotics in food production. This is something we strongly support
and it should make it easier to include the use of antibiotics in TTIP. It is
important that a potential US transition towards a more restrictive use is not
only for conscious US consumers but also for price competitive mainstream
US exports. EU can make a difference by pushing for a transition towards a
more sustainable use of antibiotics in the TTIP negotiations, promoting
positive US development.
2) Chemical decontamination of pathogenic bacteria is no alternative to the
present European pre-farm to fork approach on food hygiene.
LRF also see a need to stress the fact that whatever chemical substance is used
as disinfectant of US meat or poultry it could not be equalized with the
European or Swedish pre-farm to fork approach for farm and food hygiene.
This is more a question of general sustainability and a level playing field than
about food safety of final food products. The choice the Commission makes in
the negotiation will send strong signals to European farmers doing it the
sustainable but more costly way. Good biosecurity leads to a much lower risk
of infectious disease agents getting into the food chain i.e. through the
vegetables and water compared to chemical decontamination. It also decreases
the hazard of infecting the environment and those who work with animals to a
minimum. A report from Swedish authorities shows that the cost for society,
due to an elevated human disease incidence, is much higher with low
biosecurity in the food chain.