Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry, Food Related Issues and Fisheries of the Nordic and Baltic States
Tallinn Declaration on Increased Food Safety in the Nordic-Baltic Region
Agreed on 7 November 2003
The Nordic and Baltic Ministers responsible for food safety at a meeting in Tallinn, 7-8 November 2003 adopted a declaration on enhanced cooperation in order to increase food safety in the Nordic-Baltic region. They agreed as follows:
1. The Ministers recognized the importance of international organizations, processes and instruments in the field of food safety, such as the Nordic Council of Ministers and its Greenland Declaration on Increased Food Safety in the Nordic Region as well as its strategy "Sustainable Development – New Bearings for the Nordic Countries" and other international organisations. They acknowledged the challenges that diversity of food, technology, globalisation of production and trade provide.
2. The Ministers declared their intention to work for increased food safety in the Nordic- Baltic region by:
- Enhancing cooperation between the Nordic and Baltic states, focusing i.a. on the means to implement internationally agreed targets and
- Making the Nordic-Baltic region a driving force for food safety through joint efforts to increase their influence on international negotiations and processes.
3. For the period 2004-2006 the Ministers agreed to give priority to cooperation and consultation in relation to the following subject areas:
- Traceability - Nordic-Baltic consultation and cooperation concerning requirements for traceability of food in national and international trade, in order to identify criteria that are important to ensure health, environment, quality and fair trade without posing illegitimate obstacles to trade.
- Zoonoses - Nordic-Baltic consultation and cooperation in order to initiate and complete measures necessary to reduce the amount of zoonotic agents in food, and to establish standards and/or guidelines that may legitimate trade regulations at a high level of protection.
- Dioxin - Nordic-Baltic consultation and cooperation concerning measures to reduce the occurrence of dioxin and dioxin like PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) in foods. This objective is particularly important for the countries bordering on the Baltic sea.
- Efficient food control systems - Nordic-Baltic consultation and cooperation on structuring and implementing in-house control systems, on ensuring the competence of the personnel of control authorities and on ensuring adequate competence of the personnel of food business through regulations and other means.
The Ministers agreed that initial focus on the 4 priority areas should not exclude cooperation and consultation in relation to other relevant subject areas. The Committee of Senior Officials for Food Issues of the Nordic Council of Ministers, extended with participation from the Baltic states (CSO-NB8-Food) was given the role to monitor the need for cooperation on new and emerging areas, as appropriate.
4. The Ministers gave the task to the CSO-NB8-Food as a body responsible for the overall cooperation regarding food safety to ensure that:
- Areas are evaluated and selected where the Nordic and Baltic states can benefit from cooperation on the means to implement internationally agreed targets or jointly can increase their influence internationally.
- Suitable means of cooperation should be used to implement these goals. Consultations for the development of common strategies or solution of problems of a common interest should take place, when appropriate. Active use should be made of Nordic- Baltic co-operation within established as well as ad hoc networks. Such networks could when appropriate be given the task under the supervision of the CSO-NB8-Food to initiate and steer specific activities aimed at implementing the subject-areas prioritised in the declaration.
Proposals as well as information on the implementation of the declaration should be presented to CSO-NB8-Food for consideration. This before submission to national authorities for further utilization, and when appropriate in relation to international organizations and processes.
List of Ministers participating in the adoption of the Tallinn Declaration on Increased Food Safety in the Nordic-Baltic Region, 7 November 2003
Ms Mariann Fischer Boel, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Denmark
Mr. Tiit Tammsaar, Minister of Agriculture, Estonia
Mr. Juha Korkeaoja, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
Mr. Árni Matthíesen, Minister of Fisheries, Iceland
Mr. Mārtiņš Roze, Minister of Agriculture, Latvia
Mr. Jeronimas Kraujelis, Minister of Agriculture, Lithuania
Mr. Lars Sponheim, Minister of Agriculture, Norway
Ms Ann-Christin Nykvist, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Sweden