During the informal meeting of agriculture ministers today, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, David Byrne, spoke about his ongoing commitment to setting high food safety standards while at the same time allowing for the flexibility necessary to ensure the viability of traditional products and small food producers.

"My primary task is to ensure that food in the EU is safe. But safety is only the starting point. Discerning European consumers increasingly seek out safe but differentiated, high quality products. Real differentiation can be made on the basis of local, regional or geographic characteristics of food. In order to serve consumers and the needs of small-scale producers, the Commission seeks to ensure that its legislation doesn't stifle small, local, traditional food producers," Byrne said.

"I welcomed the participation of the ten new Member States in today's meeting. They are continuing to make great efforts in taking on the strict requirements of EU food safety standards. In parallel, the new Member States will of course also enjoy the same rights and opportunities as current Member States in terms of ensuring the viability of traditional foods," he added.