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MEPs back plans for healthier and more sustainable food

23 October 2021, 22:23 CET
MEPs back plans for healthier and more sustainable food

Organic food - Image by ikon from Pixabay

(STRASBOURG) - MEPs presented plans Wednesday for a revamp of the EU's food systems to produce healthier food, ensure food security, a fair income for farmers and reduce agriculture's environmental footprint.

At their plenary session, MEPs welcomed the EU 'Farm to Fork strategy', underlining the importance of producing sustainable and healthy food to achieve the goals of the European 'Green Deal', including on climate, biodiversity, zero pollution and public health.

The vote provides a mandate now for the EU executive to move forward and implement its vision which minimises the health and environmental impacts of food systems and make them more resilient to climate change.

"Responsibility for a more sustainable agriculture must be a joint effort by famers and consumers," said rapporteur Herbert Dorfmann MEP: "Our farmers are already doing a great job, so when we rightly ask them to further reduce their use of pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics, we need to support them so production does not just move outside the EU

MEPs highlighted the need for enhanced sustainability at every step of the food supply chain and reiterated that everyone - from farmer to consumer - has a role to play in this. To ensure that farmers can earn a fair share of the profit made from sustainably produced food, MEPs want the Commission to reinforce efforts - including through the adaptation of competition rules - to strengthen the position of farmers in the supply chain.

Other recommendations include:

Healthier food

  • EU science-based recommendations for healthy diets, including a mandatory EU front-of-pack nutritional label
  • Overconsumption of meat and highly processed foods with high salt, sugar and fat content must be addressed, including by setting maximum intake levels.

Pesticides and protection of pollinators

  • Improvement of the pesticides approval process and better monitoring of implementation to protect pollinators and biodiversity
  • Binding reduction targets for pesticide use. Member states should implement targets through their CAP Strategic Plans

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

  • 'Fit for 55 in 2030 package' must regulate and set ambitious targets for emissions from agriculture and related land use, including strict criteria for biomass-based renewable energy
  • Natural carbon sinks must be restored and enhanced

Animal welfare

  • Need for common, science-based animal welfare indicators for stronger pan-EU harmonisation
  • Current EU legislation must be evaluated to see if changes are needed
  • Gradual end to the use of cages in EU animal farming
  • Non-EU animal products should be allowed only if their standards are EU-aligned.

Organic farming

  • EU's organic land should be increased by 2030
  • Need for initiatives - promotion, public procurement and fiscal - to stimulate demand

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text will become available here (19.10.2021)

Steps of the procedure

European Commission: 'Farm to Fork strategy draft action plan' (20.05.2020)

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