Slovenia to push for better EU oversight in wake of meat scandal
Pivec made the comments after a session of the National Food Safety Council on Tuesday, which she said established that the health of Slovenian consumers had not been jeopardised.
"Meat from the contentious abattoir has not come to Slovenia and nor have cutting plants been in contact with it," said Janez Hribar, the chairman of the council, referring to the Polish facility that had been found to slaughter sick cows.
Announcing her plan to call for a better system of oversight at the EU level, Pivec said: "We've established that the controls at the EU level are faulty."
Hribar added that the Polish scandal showed insufficient compliance with EU rules. "The fault lies squarely with Poland, which failed to notify timely and sufficiently the countries the meat was destined for."
By contrast, the council endorsed the procedures and notification undertaken by the Slovenian Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection in the wake of the scandal.
However, the agriculture, forestry and food minister said that more comprehensive communication was needed. She announced that a food and fisheries directorate would be set up in April.
Food Safety Administration director Janez Posedi said that all the meat samples for which the results were available were compliant except for the kebab testing positive for salmonella and remnants of the drug Ketoprofen.
But Hribar said that the concentration in those samples was below the harmful levels.
The latest information from Poland is that it recalled another 12 tonnes of kebab meat destined for Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary, but Posedi said the reason was not known.
The origin of meat is available to the consumer, while same will apply to the main ingredients in the meat products under an EU directive from April 2020 on, but only if the label could be misleading.
Minister Pivec said that Slovenia had been advocating more transparency throughout and would submit such a proposal again. She expects Austria and most likely France to support such a proposal as well.
Commenting on calls for including more locally produced food into the public procurement system, Pivec said she would meet the ministers of education and public administration on the topic on Thursday.
However, she said that public institutions included an average of between 40% and 50% of locally produced food in their meals even now.
Posedi said that inspectors would not step up controls of imports from Poland because discrimination could be problematic. "We check 4,700 samples a year and not many do not comply," he said.