Thursday, 29 April 2010
Department of Agriculture and Food
Question 91: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his views on the implementation of a statutory code of practice to ensure transparency in the grocery sector pricing model; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16922/10]
The Renewed Programme for Government contains a specific commitment to "implement a Code of Practice for doing business in the Grocery Goods sector to develop a fair trading relationship between retailers and their suppliers" and "to review progress of the Code and if necessary to put in place a mandatory code".
The Government will give effect to this commitment by including a specific provision in the legislation, currently being prepared by my colleague the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to merge the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority, which will allow for the introduction of statutory Codes of Practice in areas such as the grocery goods sector. Minister O' Keeffe expects to publish this legislation later this year. In the interim period until the legislation is enacted, the possibilities of agreeing a Voluntary Code, which would respect the interests of all parties, will be explored with all the relevant stakeholders. A Voluntary Code offers stakeholders the opportunity to develop a Code most suited to the dynamics of the Irish grocery goods sector and which could also form the basis of any subsequent statutory Code.
The Government is strongly committed to ensuring that Ireland continues to have vibrant agrifood food and retail sectors, particularly given the importance of these sectors to the national economy. The Government considers it important, therefore, that there is balance and transparency in the relationship between the various players in the grocery goods sector. The introduction of a Code of Practice, as provided for in the Programme for Government, is intended to achieve such a balance taking into account the interests of all stakeholders in the grocery goods sector including the interests of the consumer.
There was no reported impact of volcanic ash on Irish agricultural production. The European Food Safety Authority concluded that "based on available information, the potential risk posed by fluoride in volcanic ash through contamination of drinking water, fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, milk and feed in the European Union is negligible".