New parliament proposals would increase food bills
Controversial new regulations for agricultural fertilisers ignore expert opinion and would raise costs for both farmers and producers across the EU, ECR MEPs argued today.
The European Parliament has approved proposals to drastically cut the level of contaminants allowed in fertilisers. Permitted levels of cadmium would be reduced to 60mg per kilogramme, eventually reducing to 20mg. Current levels range from 100mg to 400mg and scientists say there is no significant benefit to reducing quantities below the 80mg suggested by the ECR Group.
If the Parliament report is now backed by the European Council and Commission, major manufacturers in countries such as the UK, France, Spain and Poland would either have to try to develop new technologies to eliminate contaminants or, more likely, import raw materials from Russia and Morocco with lower natural levels of contamination. In either case the cost to farmers would increase.
ECR Internal Market Co-ordinator Daniel Dalton said: “We support the modernisation of the fertiliser regulation but it simply goes too far on cadmium levels. The recommendations go against scientific evidence, are far more restrictive than in the rest of the world and would have a dramatic impact on our ability to produce food.
“Farmers need affordable and high quality fertilisers. If these proposals go through they will face massive cost increases and our food would become even more expensive.”
Polish MEP Edward Czesak, the ECR’s shadow rapporteur on the report, said the proposals on cadmium levels would make EU fertiliser producers less competitive.
He added: “This would weaken the position of the industry and put jobs at stake, yet the argument of consumer protection is not supported by scientific evidence. The new regulations must be realistic.”