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EU trade regulation for baby food: protecting health or trade?

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  • DeMaria, F.
  • Drogué, S.

Abstract

This article explores the effect of European Union (EU)’s food safety regulations on the trade of baby food products. A large number of medical studies have shown that pesticides and contaminants contribute to various health problems including cancer, lung disease or reproductive, endocrinal and immune system disorders. They also agree that children are more vulnerable to the dangers of pesticides and contaminants because as soon as they start eating solid foods, they eat a limited number of food items most of which are fruits and vegetables. In order to protect the health of the most vulnerable part of the population, the EU’s regulations establish that no more than 0.01 mg/kg of any single pesticide residue is permitted in baby food products. In this respect, the EU differs from most of its trading partners, the majority of which do not differentiate food safety regulations according to the consumer population age. The purposes of this paper is to compare the EU regulations on Maximum Residual Level of pesticides to those of its major trading partners through a severity index and quantify the impact of the specific European regulations on the trade of baby food products. Results show that the specific EU regulations may be considered as a tool protecting vulnerable population. ....French Abstract : Cet article explore l'effet des réglementations de l'Union européenne (UE) sur la sécurité des aliments sur le commerce d'aliments pour bébé. Un grand nombre d'études médicales ont montré que les pesticides et les contaminants contribuent à divers problèmes de santé comme cancers, maladies pulmonaires ou des désordres du système immunitaire, endocrine ou reproducteur. Ces études s'accordent aussi sur le fait que les enfants sont plus vulnérables aux dangers des pesticides et contaminants car dès qu'ils commencent à manger des aliments solides, ils mangent un nombre limité de produits dont la plupart sont des fruits et légumes. Pour protéger la santé de la partie la plus vulnérable de sa population, l'UE a mis en place une réglementation qui établit que la limite maximale de résidus (LMR) pour n'importe quel pesticide ne doit pas excéder 0.01 mg/kg dans les aliments pour bébé. A ce niveau, la réglementation européenne est très différente de celle de la plupart de ses partenaires commerciaux qui ne différencient pas les réglementations en fonction de l'âge. L'objectif de cet article est de comparer la réglementation de l'UE sur les LMR de pesticides par rapport à celle de ses partenaires commerciaux grâce à un indicateur de sévérité et de quantifier l'impact de de cette réglementation européenne spécifique sur le commerce des produits pour bébé. Les résultats montrent que la réglementation de l'UE représente une barrière à l'entrée sur ses marchés, mais qu'elle a aussi un effet positif sur le volume du commerce.

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Paper provided by UMR MOISA : Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs : CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, IRD - Montpellier, France in its series Working Papers MOISA with number 201305.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:umr:wpaper:201305

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Keywords: FOOD SAFETY; PESTICIDES; BABY FOOD PRODUCTS; MARKET ACCESS; GRAVITY MODELING; SECURITE DES ALIMENTS; ALIMENTATION INFANTILE; ACCES AU MARCHE; MODELE GRAVITAIRE;

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