Working Groups and ECA participation in other forums
Working Groups are composed of ECA members' experts who deliver strong and clear industry positions that benefit all members.
The Contaminants Group: Operates in cooperation between ECA & Caobisco experts, and meets twice a year. Technical in nature, this WG monitors regulatory developments connected to food safety, i.e. mainly contaminants and pesticide residues. WG members discuss arising threats and concerns, as well as providing their input to substantiate both scientifically-sound statements (for internal use or customers), and industry positions (to be addressed to national, European and international authorities). This WG collaborates with ICCO, research institutes at EU and cocoa producing country levels, and plant protection products manufacturers. Smaller Task Forces (TFs) work on specific issues: PAH, Pesticides and Alkalising Agents.
The Joint Productivity and Quality (P&Q) Group: Tackles issues such as breeding variety, off-flavours, moisture, free fatty acids mitigation, soil fertility, pest & disease management, and planting material. Experts from ECA, FCC, and Caobisco meet twice a year. Additionally, a joint research fund was established in 2013 by ECA, FCC, and CAOBISCO. Two projects are currently underway: research on the occurrence and mitigation of cadmium in cocoa in Trinidad and Tobago; and detection of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus (CSSV) in West Africa. Another project, the Cocoa Bean Quality Requirements Guide, has already been completed.
ECA Trade WG: Monitors developments regarding EU international trade policy, notably negotiations for Free Trade Agreements and Economic Partnership Agreements, preferential tariff systems (Generalised System of Preferences), rules of origin, and WTO-specific dossiers. The Group also addresses non-tariff barriers (e.g. SPS issues & administrative requirements). Together, they establish a common European cocoa industry position and clearly communicate it to the European institutions.
ECA COOL WG: Deals with voluntary vs. mandatory labelling of food products and has been extremely active since 2014.