Published: 25/06/2014
According to the industry publication Flexnews (23/6/14), Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck recently commented to an Austrian newspaper that he  was concerned about the emotional debate being waged over a proposed free-trade pact between Europe and the United States, saying it was time for a factual discussion over a deal that could give economies a major boost.

“At a time that we fight for every tenth of a percent of growth, we should at least discuss the topic objectively,” he said, dismissing critics’ concerns that a deal could weaken European food safety standards.

“As far as I know, no one has died in the United States from eating American products. If that is our fear then we also shouldn’t go on holiday in the United States.”

Here is some objectivity from US and EU food agencies cited by the NGO Grain.

In the US, each year, 48 million people (that’s 1 out of every 6 people!) get sick from eating contaminated food and 3,000 die from it. By contrast in Europe during 2011 it is estimated 70,000 people got sick from eating contaminated food and 93 died from it. Europe has almost two and a half times the population of the United States.

Despite moves to dilute European food regulation in recent years, there is no doubt that food safety standards are stricter in the EU. Yet the desire of trade negotiators is to lower standards in the interests of food and beverage TNC’s on both sides of the Atlantic.

This is called regulatory coherence and it threatens public health. Read more on the threats to food safety here in the appendix to the recent IUF publication Trade Deals That Threaten Democracy