Joint declaration by FERCO and the ECF-IUF
in favoùr of higher food safety and hygiene standards and their effective implementation
FERCO, the European Federation of national associations representing contract catering companies, and the ECF-IUF, the European Federation of food, hotel, restaurant, café and catering trade unions, representing the workers in the contract catering sector, are particularly concerned about the worrying events that have recently shaken the agri-food world and eroded confidence of consumers, and by the development of new processes for producing, manufacturing and preserving foodstuffs, which generate increasing concerns of the consumers.
Contract catering companies and their staff have a duty to ensure to the best of their ability, that the food they serve to their customers Is safe to eat. This responsibility is particularly important where meals are provided to the more vuinerable members of society such as children, the elderly and those who are iii.
Conscious of this responsibility, and anticipating in many cases the application of the EC Directive on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs (EC 93/43) contract catering companies have set up effective systems to ensure and check the quality and safety of their services on a daily basis. This initiative applies to all the services they provide, from dose selection procedures for suppliers and reinforced controls on the quality and safety of supplies, to control of the food preparation process. This is put into practice through the implementation of HACCP procedures and the use of Quality management systems, monitored on a regular basis and continuously improved.
To guarantee the healthiness and safety of the food provided, contract catering companies have a statutory obligation to train all food handiers, including part-time and temporary workers, in food safety matters to a leve! commensurate with the risk associated with their tasks.
However, despite the investments which have been and are being made by contract catering companies towards meeting their obligations in fui!, the quality and safety of food served by contract catering companies is also dependent on the quaiity and the safety of the products with which they are supplied.
Recent worrying events, such as the Bovine Spongiform Encepoiopathy (BSE) or the dioxin crisis called into doubt certain practices within the agri-food world. Certain nove! food processes as genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the increased incidence of the presence of dioxins, hormones or antibiotics in a number of products led to a serious bss of confidence in the quality and safety of the food chain, on the part ofconsumers.
This is why FERCO and the ECF-IUF, in the context of the contract catering sector’s social dialogue, jointly declare that they:
•welcome the opportunity for stakeholders to discuss the proposals in the European Commission’s White Paper on Food Safety;
•support initiatives to meet consumers’ expectations as far as the quality and safety of food products is concerned;
•support the European and nationai institutions in their commitment towards higher food safety and hygiene standards and their effective impiementation;
•encourage stricter controls within the framework of a reinforced legisiation on waste treatment and re-cycling in the animai feeding chain;
•cali for the proper implementation of safety standards and the improvement of contro! mechanisms to assess the efficiency of the application of Community legislation on food safety, hygiene, waste management and environmental protection;
•subscribe to the Consumers demands which calis for greater transparency, to meet their rights to information so that they may exercise their freedom of choice, and for greater traceability;
•support the use of the precautionary principle in the development of new technobogies in the food chain. The long – term consequences of such initiatives must be taken into account, and every effort made to ensure that adequate safeguards are put in piace to prevent any harm to human health and to the environment.
Urge all FERCO and ECF-IUF members to appeal to their national authorities and the European Institutions to commit themselves to this cause.
FERCO and ECF-IIJF commit themselves to the foliowing principles:
•Respect and implementation of high standards in food safety and hygiene requirements by all their members, employers and employees in the contract catering sector.
•Co-operation between the sociai partners for a constant improvement of food safety and hygiene standards in the practices at the workplace.
•Co-operation between the social partners for the constant improvement of the quality of the vocational and continuous training and of the qualification of those working in the industry, pursued in compliance with the principles laid down in the agreement on vocational training concluded by ECF-IUF and FERCO.
FERCO and ECF-IUF will jointly assess the implementation ofthese principles on a regular basis.
Signed in Brussels on -17’ Aprii 2000
For Ferco,For ECF-IUF,