In favour of a consumer-accessible publication listing the ingredients in organic wines.
TOWA (Transparency for Organic Wine Association) is a collective citizen comprising consumers, European growers of organic wine and researchers (doctors, biologists, agronomists and jurists) who work together to promote a publication all ingredients contained in organic wine. TOWA's priority is to fill the legal loophole that it is incumbent upon organic wines not to exploit for the sake of consumer health, and, in turn, to enable consumers to choose products based on factual information that is available at the time of purchase, particularly in relation to ingredients.
The project, spearheaded by MEP Michele RIVASI (The Greens/FEA), is supported by all of the main political parties in the European Parliament whom have already signed a joint letter inviting the European Commisson to put in place all necessary resources in order to deliver the project - namely the publication of residual analyses of organic wines, and the creation of a European body to control and oversee implementation.
In what context ?
TOWA has the aim of increasing information in a bid to generate transparency for the consumer in a climate where demand for organic wines is increasing, and moreover, to improve the conversation rate and support for organic agriculture. Over the period of 2007- 2016, the French organic wine market as a whole has grown four-fold, with organic wine-growing areas having more than tripled in in size - increasing rom 22,500 hectares to 70,700 hectares. In Italy, the conversion of chemical-reliant vineyards into organic vineyards has also been significant: organic wine-growing has increased from approximately 38,000 hectares to over 103,500 hectares over the same period. In Spain, organic wine-growing has increased yet further: from 18,000 hectares to 107,000 hectares.
This being so, one understands that there are barriers to development. Herve HANNIN (DIrector of Development at the Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Vigne et du Vin), who co-directed the prospective study on the organic wines course, stated : "I doubt organic viticulture is capable of winning the market in the short-term. In France, following a strong development since 2010, one expects it to plateau at about 10%, or, at a push, 15%".
The threat is having to observe a net reduction in organic wine-growing in circumstances where the European Institutions lack an immediate awareness of what is at stake, an understanding of the need to develop measures to convert and sustain an organic model, and even an awareness of the need to fund research into developing alternative solutions that would be necessary to protect health and the environment. "This corresponds with strong social expectations which blend somewhat confusingly that which has a trait of protecting the environment and health" states Hervé HANNIN.
If the loud cry from citizens about the use of glyphosate has not already been heard by the European Commission or by certain Member States, this alert - and moreover a ban on use of pesticides - is taken into other political spheres. This is what has happened in the case of the Environmental Health Network project led by André CICOLELLA and its charter "Towns and Territories free from Endocrine Disrupters".
SUMMARY OF SPEECHES
What are TOWA’s expectations before the European Commission ?
- A paradigm shift in healt
With a view to protecting public health, and mindful of the need to keep alcohol consumption to a moderate level, MEP Marc TARABELLA (SPD) together with the scientific branch of TOWA is « concerned by the current indifference that the Commission is showing to public health despite the increasing number of chronic health problems within the European Union ». TOWA's intervention will present an opportunity for two doctors of Veille Santé Environnement 17 - Luc LONLAS (doctor specialising in poisonous substances) and Jean-Francois HARLET (stomatologist) - to explain that the information currently available about the allergenic effect of certain ingredients is manifestly insufficient to protect public health in light of the chemicophysical polymorphism of the substances that are used lawfully in wine-making. According to Professor Gilles-Eric SERALINI, "wine - one of the most symbolic drinks in the world - will no longer be able to escape the same rules that are observed for water, drinks and food in general". He adds "in order to inform and protect the consumer, the listing of ingredients and 'maximum daily allowances' should be imposed on wines and their labelling. Today, it's the maximum daily allowances of the grape type that apply, however insufficient testing is carried out on the finished product". For Fabrizio BUCELLA (Physician, Professor at the Free University of Brussels, and Director of Inter Wine & Dine) : "Given the number of additives that are permitted to be used in wine - 52 of which apply in organic regulation - it comes as no surprise that the consumer must know the list.
- A legal framework for transparency in wines
According to the scientific community, with a view to having a positive differentiation, and in order not to face a distortion in competition, it is necessary that organic wines benefit first and foremost from transparency. Theodore GEORGOPOULOS (Director of the Wine & Law course, Jean Monnet Chair at the University of Reims, and President of the Georges Chappaz Institute), highlights the principle of transparency and the consumer's right to adequate information in the context of free competition. The scientific project will be reproduced as part of the symposium "Meeting of Minds in the transformation of sectors and players in vineyards and wine" from 24 January 2019 at Reims, by Alexandra BOUARD, lecturer of Agri-Food law at the University of Reims.
- Putting in place of measures and tools that allow access to the transparency of wines
Lydia et Claude BOURGUIGNON, Engineer-Agronomist tackles the necessity of undertaking work on land in order avoid as many intrants as possible. He will speak of the urgency of ensuring that winegrowers do not exceed the regulatory thresholds that currently apply in relation to the treatment of vines.
That being so, an increase in European aid for organic wine-growing is necessary in order to improve and maintain conversion. TOWA's objective is the progression from a chemical-based wine-growing process to one which embraces scientific advances, where the majority respect health and the environment in Europe.
The community of TOWA scientists is startled by the number of chemicals identified but not yet regulated in wines, and the attendant risks for the human population. This is why the members of TOWA wish to unify and make available to the European Commission their scientific knowledge and legal tools that lend to the principle of transparency, in order to break through the political divide who no longer have time to await a discussion.
The press conference will take place, the 12 December at 10.30am in the Press Room at the European Parliament
Interventions are overseen by Olivier PAUL-MORANDINI, Founder of TOWA. Tuscan Winegrower. Former Founder of the circulation of emergency number 112 across Europe. Assisted by his son Matteo, who will bring the event to a close with some final words.
TRANSPARENCY ORGANIC WINE ASSOCIATION
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