The President of ICMSA has welcomed as a positive first step the EU Commission’s announcement that it is to ban a series of unfair trade practices that it has identified in the food supply chain. Mr. Pat McCormack said that no link in the food supply chain was as commercially vulnerable as the farmers who were “right at the beginning” of the chain and had no-one behind them to whom they could pass on losses or pressurise for extra margin. Mr. McCormack acknowledged Commissioner Hogan’s momentum on this issue on which much had been promised down through the years and decades with very little tangible results by way of regulation, and the ICMSA President said that though there was bound to be resistance and ‘push-back’ from the corporate retailers a first critical and powerful step had been taken and a signal sent to the corporations that their abuse of weaker links in the food supply chain was now going to be challenged. “At last we have a tangible sign that the Commission accepts that farmers have been – and are being – abused by the retailers.”
Noting that independently of the Commission, the French Government last week announced that it too intends regulating margins in the food supply chain, Mr. McCormack urged the EU Commission to follow that Member State’s more effective example and show that dominant position abuse was as unacceptable in the supply and sale of food as it was in any other area. Mr. McCormack also urged the Commission and MEPs to stand strong in the face of what he guaranteed will be a wave of spin emanating from the corporate retailers on how these regulations will cause consumer food inflation: “Every single time anyone has suggested a more fair food supply chain that takes the whip out of the hand of the supermarkets, the corporations who operate those chains have muttered about how that will cause the retail price to rise and annoy consumers. They’ll try that this time and it’s up to everyone- the Commission, politicians, farm organisations and small to medium-sized processors – to stand together and defy their threats. This announcement isn’t the end of the matter; it’s not even the beginning of the end but it’s the first signal that the dictatorship of the corporate retailers might be coming to an end – for which we should all, including consumers, give thanks.”
Ends 12 April.
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office