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Europe readies itself for future food crises

Tue 08/09/2020 by Richard Wilkinson
Interview with Philippe Binard, general secretary of Freshfel Europe
Philippe Binard, Freshfel Europe’s general delegate

Over 200 representatives of Europe’s food industry and the public sector gathered for the ESSA (European Sprouted Seeds Association) and Freshfel Europe’s Food Crisis Management Event this week to study previous crises and prepare to respond to future hypothetical scenarios through closer cooperation.

Freshfel Europe’s general delegate, Philippe Binard, said, “The fresh produce sector strives for good practices in production and trade. However, this is reliant on a high level of cooperation with authorities and other actors.”

Attendees discussed how previous food crises were handled in terms of food hygiene and food fraud issues, as well as the nefarious impact of misinformation and the need for greater transparency.

“Transparency plays a big role in crisis management. It is based on a long-term confidence between public and private stakeholders. During the crisis and recovery period, good and consistent communication is essential. All stakeholders involved in a crisis should set up communication tools among each other as well as to the public. European and national authorities play a big role in informing the public, as well as in restoring consumers’ confidence,” said Binard.

Similarly, ESSA’s secretary general, Eglė Baecke, stressed that cooperation must be a

“continuous process and applied in practice, such as through crisis simulation exercises.”

 

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