Illegal wildlife trade, it’s not all rhinos and elephants

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Global cooperation is needed to reduce the trade in illegally collected plants (Stokpic Via Pixabay)

This month London hosted an international conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, highlighting fresh commitments and funding to reduce international trade in threatened animal and plant species. October also saw the annual CITES meeting where compliance issues with trade regulations laid out by CITES are discussed and resolved.

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Milk Quotas in European Union to Be Abolished after 31 Years

By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, Editor of Dairy Science Abstracts

Milk quotas in the European Union (EU) will be abolished from the 1 April 2015, exactly 31 years after its introduction.

The Dairy Produce Quota Regulations were introduced by the European Economic Community (EEC) on the 2 April 1984 and were originally due to run until 1989, but have been extended many times since then.

According to this regulation, the milk market in the EU is regulated by a quota system. Every member country has a production quota which it distributes to farmers. Whenever a member country exceeds its quota, it has to pay a penalty (‘super levy’) to the EU.

 

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Abolition of milk quotas has been heavily criticized by farmers. However, in the light of globalization of dairy markets in recent years, together with increased consumption of dairy products outside the EU, milk quotas have long outlived their usefulness for EU countries. It is estimated that global milk production between 2008 and 2013, for example, increased by over 90 billion litres  -  equivalent to over half of the entire EU production of 160 million litres.

Dairy-milkApart from distorting production across the EU, national quotas have facilitated dairy market development in other countries. For example, New Zealand and Australia, which produce only 5% of global milk, account for 40% of global exports of dairy products. Meanwhile, the EU accounts for 24% of the global milk production, and 24% of world cheese, butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and whole milk powder (WMP)  exports, according to figures presented by CLAL (dairy brokerage firm).

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Chocolate Made in South Africa for homesick Brits?

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This blog is about the weirdness of global trade… and the
lengths (literally) we go for chocolate.

The wrapper on my Marks & Spencer (M&S) valentine chocolates read: “Made with our exclusive British Milk chocolate recipe, Made in
South Africa”.

Incredibly, it seemed that a firm in South Africa (SA) was targeting local people with a taste for British chocolate, and somehow M&S
sourced them for sale in the UK! 

Was this I wondered another example of fuel miles not being
built into food production costs (see “food miles”), like apples  from the Cape or Kenyan flowers at petrol stations?

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Jumping the red light – Do consumers pay attention to nutritional labels?

There have been many labelling schemes to make clearer to consumers the healthiness of foods, such as traffic light codes with green for healthy and red for less healthy. But do consumers actually make use of the labels and choose healthier foods?Trafficlight2
In a paper in CAB Reviews, Sophie Hieke and Jo Wills of the European Food Information Council examine the recent evidence. A consistent finding is the “attitude-behaviour gap, meaning that consumers will say one thing and do another.” Some experiments suggest that people will try to avoid “red traffic-light” foods. However, a German study showed people could distinguish the healthiest drink using such a “traffic-light” coding system, but did not choose the healthy option when picking out their meal for the next day.

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Is there a role for law(yers) in public health?

ITS not often that speakers forgo the chance to present in favour of opening up debate, but this is exactly what happened here at the World Congress Public Health 2012 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,Tuesday April 24), in the session “Law: a public health tool”. Moderator, Michele Forzley, chose not to talk on access to medicines in favor of a longer group discussion, following presentations from 3 African speakers on law related to women’s rights, public health emergencies, and setting up NGOs.

Split into small groups,  we, the audience, were asked to identify public health issues which persisted despite knowing the cause and cure, and despite the existence of laws providing protection. The speaker panel then commented on the identified issues, relating them to existing law in their various countries and suggesting why the law had failed to protect.. Michelle Forzley supplied the international perspective. 

Issues identified by the groups related to LMICs (low and middle income countries) and included khat use by young people in Ethiopia; environmental pollution from mining; migrant rights; counterfeit drugs, poor quality breast milk substitutes; training needs of public health workers to enable them to defend and advocate effectively for public health law enforcement; and food labelling/quality, particularly of imported foods.

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