Saturday, 26 September 2015
Ever closer onion
Continuing the theme of international standards and conventions, when arguing the point with europhiles, they often tell me that standards are not laws and it takes the EU to turn them into law. But in building in compliance to standards that exporters to the EU must comply with, they are creating global laws for producers the world over. And make no mistake, UNECE is writing laws.
This week we learned that Codex Alimentarius fresh fruit & veg committee is working with UNECE to harmonise aubergine, garlic, kiwi & potato marketing standards, which for me is by far the most interesting story on Twitter given what else is on offer. Certainly more important than Jeremy Corbyn. Thus I found myself browsing through the UNECE Standard for Onions FFV-25.
It states beneath the picture that "The onions must not have any damage or injury. The skin must be intact. Unhealed injuries or mechanical damage exposing the edible of the produce are not allowed."
The regulations that enact such standards do not copy these standards. These articles ARE the standards. The language is clear. They are written with the expectation of official approval - and there is no possibility that we could deviate from these standards should we wish to produce onions and export them to the EU.
Thus in the formulation of these laws, we need our own producers involved at the highest level and an independent veto is very necessary. Just one comma or noun gone awry can have serious implications for entire industries. You'll find standards such as these for onions, wheelnuts and wing mirrors through to VHF radio equipment on lifeboats. It's easier to list what isn't regulated. In this, the EU is not the regulator and this is the level at which we must have full participation and a voice where it matters. Jobs depend on it.