The European Commission is targeting a renewed food and drinks health agreement with the US that would result in mutual recognition of their respective drinks safety controls.

The European Union and the US are in the process of negotiating a bi-lateral trade agreement, known as the US-European Union (EU) Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. As part of the discussions, the EC said late last week that it wants to update the existing agreement on food and drink safety.

The EC is looking for a new sanitary and phytosanitary agreement, which would allow the EU and the US to recognise each other’s drinks safety controls. The move would expand an existing deal between the two on animal-based products, to cover all food and drink trades.

An agreement would ensure that both sets of regulators could not discriminate against each other’s exports regarding health checks, that they would also mutually recognise EU and US controls as sufficiently tough, and would allow exporters to be cleared in advance for exports by health inspectors.

This would “safeguard human, animal and plant health” controls, but “prevent and eliminate unnecessary barriers,” said the Commission document.

Negotiations on the trade agreement between the two began earlier this month and are expected to take the rest of the year.