Spanish PM defends tomatoes against French criticism -Xinhua

Spanish PM defends tomatoes against French criticism

Source: Xinhua| 2024-02-02 04:26:46|Editor: huaxia

MADRID, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Thursday defended the quality of Spanish agricultural products, especially tomatoes, against criticism from France.

A row was ignited between the two countries after former French Environment Minister Segolene Royal claimed in a recent TV interview that the Spanish are not complying with European Union (EU) food regulations.

"French agriculture makes efforts in both sanitary issues and quality and respects the regulations. All of this is harmed by the competition from Spanish produce," Royal said. She insisted that ecologically-produced Spanish tomatoes were "inedible" and "false ecological products," and accused Spanish producers of "not respecting the rules used in France."

Although all producers in the EU are subject to the same rules, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has also complained about "unfair competition."

In response to these accusations, Sanchez said: "I don't think Mrs. Royal has been lucky enough to eat Spanish tomatoes."

"I invite her to come to Spain, so she can try the varieties of Spanish tomatoes and she will see that they are unbeatable," said Sanchez.

Spain's Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Luis Planas also defended Spanish farmers and their produce.

Speaking at Madrid Fusion, a showcase for Spanish gastronomy, Planas highlighted Spain's reputation for fine food, the quality of its produce, and the professionalism of the people working in the sector.

Planas also outlined plans to improve food labeling to give consumers clear information on which products are healthy and sustainable, as well as plans to make Spain more self-sufficient "in the face of a changing world with geopolitical conflicts, which make it harder to obtain prime materials and food."

The row between France and Spain comes in the middle of an ongoing crisis for Spanish transport companies and agricultural producers, who have seen shipments of their produce blockaded by protesting French farmers.

In some cases, the farmers have even destroyed fresh produce coming from Spain, and emptied tankers transporting Spanish wine.