Food industry complains about vague EU deforestation law

European raw material importers and food companies believe that the European Union is far too late with implementing regulations for the law against global deforestation and CO2 emissions. They will soon have to keep track of which parts and resources their products consist of, and where they were grown or bred or manufactured. 

The EU will introduce rules late next year that will require companies to verify that their products are not associated with recently deforested land, the Financial Times reported. Processors and importers still do not know exactly which Bieden from which countries it concerns. It is expected to mainly affect raw materials such as palm oil, coffee, cocoa, beef, soy and rubber.

The food industry says it has not had enough time to prepare for the new rules. The EU authorities in Brussels have not yet drawn up a definitive list of “high-risk” countries. South American countries in particular have protested against the new EU import rules at a diplomatic and political level in Brussels.

Food companies operating in the EU are required to accurately locate the plots from which their raw materials come and to transmit the coordinates to the EU authorities for checks at the EU. Only then will Brussels provide a deforestation risk assessment of the producing country. This increases uncertainty among companies about how strict the EU will be. 

The food industry says it is already confronted with problems in contract negotiations. However, Gert van der Bijl, senior EU policy advisor for non-profit organization Solidaridad, told the Financial Times that the food industry has had sufficient time to prepare for the new EU rules, as the regulations have been under development since 2015.