Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the position to be adopted, on behalf of the European Union, with regard to proposals of quality standards for fruit and vegetables to be adopted in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards (UNECE-WP.7)
1. This Explanatory Memorandum covers a proposal to put in place a formal process at EU level for approving quality standards for fresh and dried fruit and vegetables put forward at United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) level.
2. The UNECE sets quality standards for agricultural produce. Proposals are considered on an annual basis by the UNECE’s Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards (UNECE-WP.7) and are either adopted or are sent back for further work. These quality standards are important as they form the basis of EU marketing standards.
3. The work carried out by UNECE-WP.7 ensures that the standards in place are up-to-date and in line with current scientific or technical information, and developments within the trade including production and marketing. The standards define minimum quality levels as well as grading, packing, and marking requirements, to help facilitate fair trade, prevent technical barriers to trade and increase transparency in the markets. They promote sustainable marketing of quality agricultural produce, keep low quality agricultural produce off the market and protect consumers.