“The complexity of regulations, such as CSDDD, EUDR, CBAM, or the EU Packaging Directive, hinders emerging countries in the Global South from joining the EU market. The initial situation and interests of these countries are not sufficiently integrated into the regulations. As a result, small farmers in UNIDO’s partner countries are excluded from global supply chains.” With these words, Gunther Beger, Managing Director for Innovation and Economic Transformation at UNIDO, opened the 16th Food Safety Congress on 4 June 2024 in Berlin. For imports, legal regulations with a sense of proportion are needed, not complex bureaucratic solutions. For example, the German regulations on documentation requirements are a) unknown to traders and b) difficult to fulfil. As UNIDO is working internationally to create standards for global cooperation, it is seeking dialogue with decision-makers in order to simplify the path for goods from the Global South into the global value chain.

The complexity of the regulations in the supply chain was also strikingly formulated by Dr Andreas Daxenberger, Manager Food/Feed at TÜV Süd. He said that ISO 17029 and 17065 were an attempt to validate claims with key figures on sustainability. These key figures are intended to help companies to better present their environmental behaviour. However, it is completely unclear how retailers can reliably assess transparency and traceability on the basis of this indicator. Environmental friend or environmental sow would be close to each other, depending on which perspective one applies to the products. Therefore, this ISO is currently not being filled with life, as the assessment cannot be standardised. This in turn prevents goods from the Global South from entering the market. The discussion was summarised with the sentence “The madness is man-made”.

The closing words of the organisers, Dr Markus Girnau, Food Association, and Mr Stephan Tromp, HDE, once again highlighted the two associations’ understanding of their roles on the subject of safety. In the interests of consumers, retailers are trying to implement the regulatory packages presented in Germany and the EU in terms of quality management for healthy, sustainable nutrition. Producers, on the other hand, are focussing on the secure supply of goods in international supply chains, even in times of crisis. UNIDO must therefore first understand why food safety is not seen as an international growth driver in Germany – Germany occupies a leading position worldwide in this area – but instead jeopardises international partnerships through discussions on labelling and thus takes itself out of the market.

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