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European Commission Adopts Farm to Fork Food Strategy

Earlier this year, the European Commission unveiled a strategy to ensure a "fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system."

Known as the Farm to Fork Food Strategy, the new policy will bring together every member of the food supply chain, from farmers and manufacturers to companies and consumers – with the ultimate aim of creating a more sustainable future.

Although the announcement of the scheme was originally scheduled for March 2020, details of the Farm to Fork Food Strategy were eventually released in May. Its targets complement those of the recently announced Biodiversity Scheme and European Green Deal, which aim to bring nature back into our lives and reduce our reliance on 'unclean' resources respectively.

What are the EC's targets?

The strategy in numbers

According to the European Commission, the Farm To Fork Strategy will safeguard livelihoods, ensure food traceability, and promote sustainability throughout the European Union. It has set a variety of targets for European agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture, in line with its plans to become the world's first carbon neutral continent by the year 2050.

By 2030, the EC aims to have achieved the following:

  • 50% reduction in the use and risk of pesticides
  • 50% reduction in the EU sales of antimicrobials (which are used to treat farm animals and aquaculture)
  • 20% reduction in the use of fertilisers
  • 25% of agricultural land must be used for organic farming

The use of antimicrobials in the food supply chain has been linked to antimicrobial resistance, a healthcare issue which causes more than 30,000 deaths in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) every year.

Improving European diets

In addition to its environmental aims, the Farm to Fork Strategy also aims to improve the health of EU residents. The EC has noted that, in general, diets across Europe do not comply with healthy dietary guidelines. Despite record levels of food waste, around 43 million people are unable to afford a proper meal every second day – while more than 50% of adults are now overweight.

To achieve its targets, the EC acknowledges that a shift in people's diets must occur. This is necessary both to improve the overall health of the population, and to change their buying habits. Currently, organic food is far less accessible than both non-organic food – which is often riddled with pesticides – and cheaper foods that are low in nutritional value. This forces lower-income families to make less healthy choices.

By increasing the availability of organic food, the EC hopes to improve the quality of European diets. In the Farm to Fork Strategy document, they note that 'if European diets were in line with dietary recommendations, the environmental footprint of food systems would be significantly reduced.'

Ensuring food security

Another key aim of the Farm to Fork Strategy is to ensure food security for every EU resident. One aspect of this is preserving the economic viability of farming as a profession, while making the prices of sustainable supermarket food affordable for all.

The EC is committed to ensuring that this won't be at the expense of animal welfare, plant health, or fair trade. Its strategy is to generate fair economic returns for agricultural workers, without this placing a burden on the budgets of families at home.

From farmers to family consumers, the Farm to Fork Strategy aims to improve all areas of the EU's food supply chain.

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