Wednesday 15 April 2015

Urgent Action Required By All Food Lovers

Have you heard of the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)? I know I hadn't until a couple of days ago, when I found out about it via the Slow Food Movement. It's MAJOR, and it matters to you and me right now. 

It is a proposal which seeks to standardise systems and standards of food production between the EU and US. 

On the surface it sounds a little dull. But look a little closer, and you'll see why it matters to us all. I am deeply uneasy about the proposals and their implications.

The TTIP has massive, potentially cataclysmic repercussions for food producers and consumers not only in Ireland but throughout Europe. 

Here are some of the impacts it will have:
  • Currently chemicals and pesticides in the EU must be proven safe for animals and humans prior to use. In the USA the opposite is the case, and many cancer-causing and hormone- disrupting chemicals are used there, which are banned in Europe. We would no longer be able to ban these chemicals.
  • Higher European safety measures throughout the chain of food production, including meat production, would be down-graded to US levels which are less stringent.
  • The US factory food system produces food at a lower cost, with more chemical inputs and higher capital costs of production than in Europe. 
  • In the US, growth-hormone-injected beef is cheaper to produce - but is lower quality with associated human and animal health implications. Current restrictions on the sale of unlabelled hormone-injected beef and GMO products would be lifted. Consumers will no longer know exactly what they are buying... or eating.
  • And perhaps most worrying is a new legal system will be established for foreign investors, so that they can bypass the Irish, European and American judicial systems if they feel their current - or future - profits are threatened by "unnecessarily restrictive barriers to trade". This would include everything from what constitutes organic food standards, to correct food allergy labelling.
All these changes put profit before food quality. And the interests of mass-production and corporations above those of the people eating it. It will see food information for consumers weakened, and smaller, local producers further marginalised. According to Slow Food: "the controversial trade deal could give unprecedented power to international corporations and thus threatens to overrule democracy and the rule of law, as well as environmental and consumer protection."

Did you know that this was proposed? I certainly didn't. If this worries you too, do take time to raise your voice against it. Take a moment to sign the online petitions to stop TTIP. This one has already cleared the necessary million signatures to enable it to be formally presented for consideration by the EU but a million or two more signatures couldn’t hurt, so that our legislators know just how important an issue this is!

There is a global day of action this Saturday, 18th April, with workshops, protests and networking events.


On Twitter: @TTIPInfoNetwork     

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