Key Policy Areas of Importance


Key Policy Areas of Importance

Agricultural policy

Since its creation in 1959, the major policy tool of the EU which has influenced the supply, quality and price of EU agricultural raw materials has been the Common Agricultural Policy. Going forward, the CAP, and notably Member State national strategic plans, will be a key enabler in the delivery of the EU’s ambitious Green Deal agenda, in particular the EU biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies. Crucial to Starch Europe is that these national CAP strategic plans are closely monitored in order to ensure no new distortions to the EU single market emerge.


Starch is renewable and biodegradable. As such it is a well-suited raw material for the sustainable use of agricultural products in the bio-based industry. For decades, the EU starch industry has been producing bio-based products that are used as raw materials, generally replacing fossil-fuel-based ingredients, in the fermentation, chemical, cosmetics, textile, paper, plastics and detergent industries.

Starch biorefineries are core to the success of Europe’s bioeconomy. Starch Europe is therefore a strong supporter of the EU Bioeconomy strategy and its action plan on all four bioeconomy outlets (food, feed, industrial and fuel), as updated in 2018 and a founding member of the European Bioeconomy Alliance. We also welcome the Commission Communication’s acknowledgement of the importance of the EU Bioeconomy in the delivery of both the Farm to Fork strategy and Circular Economy Action Plan objectives.

Environmental policy

Starch Europe fully supports the EU Green Deal objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The main input costs for EU starch producers are, first and foremost, the cost of the agricultural raw material, and second,  the cost of the energy consumed during extraction and processing.

For economic, as well as environmental reasons, therefore, starch producers seek to ensure that starch production plants are as energy efficient as possible. It is for this reason that almost all EU starch plants now use high efficiency Combined Heat and Power Generation (CHP) systems, which offer energy savings ranging between 15-40% when compared to the supply of energy and heat from conventional power stations and boilers.

The EU starch industry was also one of the first agri-food sectors to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study for all its products, first in 2001 and more recently and using the most updated and robust methodologies, in 2012 and 2015. This not only reflects our mission to assure a reliable supply of safe starch-based ingredients but also responds to the increasing demand for this type of information from our customers and our joint desire to ensure that this information is being provided in a consistent manner.

As a major energy user, the EU starch industry closely follows all EU legislation which impacts the cost of the energy it uses, notably the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Emission Trading Scheme, and seeks to ensure that the Starch Industry’s position and views are understood and incorporated in an effort to ensure that the ingredients produced by the sector are not left at a competitive disadvantage against imported products with which they compete, .

Food/feed Law

60% of EU starch and almost all the proteins and fibres produced by the EU starch industry go into the EU food/feed chain. When starch, proteins and fibresare being extracted, it is often not yet known whether they will go to food or non food applications. All ingredients must therefore comply with EU food and feed law.

Starch Europe members are strongly implicated by EU food and feed law and Starch Europe seeks to ensure that the specific interests of starch producers are taken into account in its development.

Issues of particular interest include:

  • Contaminants/Mycotoxins: Food safety must be the basis for any decision regarding the maximum limits for mycotoxins. If safety is an issue, preventive and mitigation methods like the implementation of code of good practices should be put into place and if, despite these codes, safety is still at stake, then limits should be realistic, achievable, consistent, controllable and be based on risk analysis. A realistic and consistent approach should be taken also for limits in feed products.
  • Legislation on gene technology: Starch Europe members continue to respond to current customer demands for conventional products in compliance with EU laws and by implementing traceability as long as most European consumers are not ready to accept GMOs. Some new genomic techniques could however play an important role in helping EU farmers to reach targets being set under the Green Deal agenda and more clarity is needed on how these techniques are to be regulated going forward.
  • Other: Starch Europe also closely follows the development of the EU legislation regarding, inter alia, additives and processing aids, animal feed and codes of good practice, and materials in contact with food.

Nutrition and Health

Starch is the most common digestible carbohydrate in the human diet. Digestible carbohydrates are the most important fuel for our brains and provide our bodies with the energy our organs need to function. Proteins and fibres, the main other ingredients produced by the starch industry, also play an invaluable role in a healthy diet. In order to function correctly, our body needs carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, minerals and vitamins. In terms of energy intake, EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, recommends that 45-60% of our daily energy intake comes from carbohydrates (4 kilocalories of energy per gram) which includes dietary fibres (on average 2 kilocalories of energy per gram), 20-35% from fats (9 kilocalories of energy per gram) and 10-15% from proteins (7 kilocalories of energy per gram).

The maintenance of a stable body weight requires the right balance between the total amount of energy consumed and the total amount of energy expended. However, increases in body weight occur when energy intake exceeds expenditure. Carbohydrates, like starch and sugars, form an essential part of the human diet, but. , if they are consumed in excess, this can lead to problems of obesity.

In order to help consumers opt for healthier and more sustainable diets, providing clear and science-backed information is critical. To support this goal, Starch Europe launched its consumer facing www.starchinfood.eu website in 2018 and its BeyondStarch campaign in 2019. These information efforts will continue in order to help consumers better understand the ingredients from the starch industry: where they come from, why they are added and what their nutritional value is.


In a world starch market of approximately 75 million tonnes, the EU produces 11 million tonnes. The USA and China are the world’s largest starch producers, followed by the EU and Thailand. Brazil is also growing in importance as a starch producer.

For many starch products, these third countries are in a position to produce starch at more competitive prices than the EU. This is partly the result of lower raw material and production costs and partly as a result of less stringent, for example, environmental legislation. As such, in order to maintain the competitiveness of the EU starch industry, a number ofstarch products imported from many third countries are subject to an EU import duty.

For other starch products and co-products, for example potato starch and wheat gluten, the EU is the world’s biggest and/or highest quality producer and its products are widely exported throughout the world. For these products Starch Europe seeks to ensure that fair market access is assured.

Starch Europe therefore takes a keen interest in the EU’s trade policy agenda,  including the EU bilateral FTA negotiations with various third countries and/or regions.


The European starch industry is a long-established part of the agri-food value chain, built on constant innovation to meet societal demands and consumer expectations.

Rural Strength

We strengthen rural areas by providing an essential source of income and employment, both directly and to the farmers who supply the raw materials used to make our ingredients.


We offer a vast range of plant-based ingredients, including carbohydrates, proteins and fibres, to make food and drink taste better, last longer, and be more sustainable and nutritious.


We develop bio-based materials and alternatives to fossil-based products in industrial applications from renewable resources, offering functional properties and CO2 emission reductions.


By valorising the entire crop to serve food, feed and industrial customers, while reducing our environmental footprint, the EU starch industry is a pillar of the sustainable food system.


EU farmers and maize processors join forces as the 11th round of TTIP negotiations starts

October 19, 2015

  Press release                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        19 October 2015 EU farmers and maize [...]

Facts about Sugars

May 28, 2015

Over recent years, a debate has arisen over the amount [...]

PFP press release on COOL

May 22, 2015

PRESS RELEASE Country of origin labelling (COOL) - EU Primary [...]

An industrial renaissance for the EU Starch Industry

October 8, 2014

In its Communication ‘For a European Industrial Renaissance’ (COM (2014) 14 Final) of 22 January 2014, the European Commission sets the ambitious objective of increasing the GDP contribution of EU industry from its current level of 15.1% to 20% by 2020. This paper outlines how the EU starch industry can contribute to this objective and how EU decision makers can help maximise that contribution.

EU starch industry welcomes Commission’s announcement on ETS and Carbon Leakage

July 9, 2014

Brussels, 9 July 2014 - The AAF strongly welcomes today’s endorsement, by the Climate Change Committee*, of the Commission’s decision not to change the criteria for the eligibility of EU industry sectors that are covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme to be in the carbon leakage list. [...]

PFP position paper on resource efficiency

June 5, 2014

Primary Food Processors (PFP) are the largest users of domestic grains, starch, potatoes, sugar beet, oilseeds and crude vegetable oils inthe EU. [...]

PFP position on Official Controls

March 19, 2014

The EU Primary Food Processors (PFP) would like to express their view on the package of legislative measures on official controls [...]

AAF statement on REACH

March 3, 2014

AAF position on the status of starch and starch-derived products and starch by-products in the context of REACH with regard to their use in applications other than food, feed and pharma ...

AAF position on EU-US TTIP

October 9, 2013

The EU starch industry asks for exclusion of various starch products and co-products in the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the US. [...]

AAF position on EU-Thailand FTA

September 9, 2013

Thailand is the world’s biggest exporter of starch, the world’s largest producer of native tapioca starch produced manioc starch and the third world producer of the manioc roots, which produce tapioca.[...]

AAF position on Trade and Competitiveness

May 15, 2013

The European starch industry is in favour of trade conditions that allow fair competition and growth for the European starch industry in EU and on world market. [...]

AAF Environment Policy

March 29, 2013

The members of the European starch industry association (Association des Amidonniers et Féculiers - AAF) extract starch, proteins, fibres and lipids from cereal grains and starch potatoes and process them [...]

EU starch industry – disappointed at Dantin report on sugar quotas

June 1, 2012

On 31 May 2012, Michel Dantin (EPP, France), European Parliament rapporteur on the CAP Single CMO proposal, published his draft report. The draft report proposes extending the EU sugar regime until 2019/20. With the end of milk quotas in 2015, sugar and isoglucose [...]

Why is 2015 the right time to abolish EU production quotas on sugar

April 1, 2012

2015 is the right time for the abolition of EU production quotas on sugar and isoglucose because it will end the outdated, unfair and uncompetitive treatment of isoglucose. The current quota regime artificially limits production of isoglucose (cereal-based sugar) to a tiny fraction (4%) of the overall EU sugar and isoglucose consumption market [...]

AAF position on the single CMO – sugar reform

January 1, 2012

Working towards a sustainable and competitive sugars sector in Europe: the AAF, the European starch industry Association, strongly supports the abolition of production quotas for sugar and isoglucose by October 2015, and calls on the European Parliament and the Member States to [...]

AAF policy on GMOs for the food & feed sector

October 17, 2011

Regulations 1829/2003/EC and 1830/200/EC on GMOs have been published in the Official Journal on 18 October 2003 and entered into force on April 19th, 2004. This legislation defines [...]

EU starch industry public contribution on CAP 2020

January 24, 2011

The European starch industry is pleased to contribute to the Commission’s consultation on the CAP towards 2020 with items of direct relevance to its competitiveness. For this reason, the European starch industry focuses its contribution on questions no. 1 to 3 [...]

EU starch industry’s view on the future of sugar regime of the post-2013 CAP

September 10, 2010

The european starch industry's views on the future of the sugar regime in the framework of the post-2013 CAP. The European starch industry is an important economic player in European economy and rural development, that represents primary food processors that sell to the second transformation industry. It is an important agro-industry [...]

Business to business labelling in EU “additives Regulation 1333/2008”

June 1, 2010

AAF members are aware of the requirements of EU Regulation 1333/2008 on food additives. As concerns the implementation of the provisions of Art 22.1.- General labelling requirements for food additives not intended for sale to the final consumer – AAF members consider that [...]

EU allergen labelling of wheat starch derivatives and of gluten-free food

February 1, 2009

AAF statement on the EU allergen labelling of wheat starch and wheat starch derivatives and their use in gluten-free foods. On 28 November 2007, wheat-based glucose syrups including dextrose, wheat-based maltodextrins and products thereof (such as polyols) obtained a permanent exemption from allergen labelling [...]

Environmental impacts of starch products

December 1, 2008

The EU starch industry contribution to the EU sustainable consumption and production policies: In the framework of the increasing concerns of the manufacturing and retailing industry to provide information on the environmental impact of products to the final consumers [...], the European starch industry is pleased to put forward its own contribution [...]

Allergen labelling of wheat-based products – permanent exemption

November 1, 2007

Permanent exemption obtained for “allergen labelling” of wheat-based maltodextrins, glucose syrups, dextrose: We are pleased to announce that on the basis of EFSA opinions, on 28 November 2007 the Commission published with Directive 2007/68/EC [...]

Co-products of the starch industry are NOT waste!

September 1, 2006

By-products from the EU starch industry are to be considered as products on their own rights and not as waste! The manufacture of these by-products is a part of our production process in its own rights. These by-products are manufactured with the same philosophy as for the other products.

Contact us

  • Avenue des Arts, 43, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium
  • +32 2 289 67 60
  • info@starch.eu
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