Working Groups & Taskforces

ECA Working Groups, ECA Taskforces and participation in other forums

Working Groups and taskforces are composed of ECA members' experts who deliver strong and clear industry positions that benefit all members.

The Joint 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 provide 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.

The Joint Research Fund: The European Cocoa Association (ECA), CAOBISCO,  and the Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC) are committed to working towards more sustainable cocoa whereby cocoa is safe for consumer consumption, complies with manufacturers’ quality requirements and meets the growing demand.

Given deteriorating yields (current average cocoa yields are around 400kg/ha) and quality levels in several countries, the need to rehabilitate existing cocoa producing land (through planting material, fertilizers), and growing consumer interest in cocoa sustainability, the review of sustainable industry needs in terms of quality and productivity is a key priority.

In 2013, ECA, FCC and Caobisco joined forces by setting up a Joint Research Fund which is currently administered by ECA. On average, three projects (that typically run over a two to five year timespan) are administered through the Fund at the same time.

Current and past projects include:

  • Cocoa Bean Quality Requirements Guide (available here in English, French and Spanish) - completed
  • Research on occurrence and mitigation of cadmium in cocoa - underway
  • Detection of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus (CSSV) - underway

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.