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Agri food sector

The agri-food sector has significant weight within the overall European economy. The food and drinks industry is one of the most important sectors of the EU economy, with a combined annual production valued at close to 600 billion euros. The EU is the world’s largest producer of food and drink products. This sector is the third largest industrial employer providing jobs for more than 2.6 million people.

For its part, the annual production of the agricultural sector is valued at close to 220 billion euros and provides the equivalent of 7.5 million full-time jobs. Food and drink exports amount to about 50 billion euros each year.

Rising standards of living and dietary changes influenced by a culture of animal protein consumption have caused livestock production to increase. Forecasts for the coming years pointing to constant growth, taking into account the entry of Eastern European countries into the EU and their constantly rising living standards.

The following tables (Tables 1 and 2) of the study “Prospects for agricultural markets and income in the European Union 2006 – 2013, July 2006” by the European Commission’s General Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Development show the evolution of different economic and social variables and those regarding meat, milk and egg production and consumption.

Different human health problems resulting from improper use of products to feed livestock in different EU countries and various livestock diseases such as bird flu have led consumer associations and society as a whole to become aware of the use of these products, giving rise to the notion of food safety.

Food safety

The economic importance and omnipresence of food in our lives means that food safety must be one of the main interests for society, particularly for public authorities and producers in the sector.

The European Union’s food policy is based on food safety standards for the protection of consumers’ health

Environmental conditions and their conservation are also factors to be taken into account when designing new drugs or food additives.

The agri-food sector has significant weight within the overall European economy. Rising standards of living and dietary changes influenced by a culture of animal protein consumption have caused livestock production to increase.

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