20 May 2020. The EU Farm to Fork Strategy is the most coherent attempt yet to respond to the fundamental challenges plaguing our food systems. Published today and aimed at designing a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system, it gets a good number of things right.
The strategy points to unhealthy and unsustainable food consumption patterns, acknowledges the importance of ‘food environments’ in shaping demand, sets targets on antibiotics sales and pesticides reduction and introduces a number of actions to improve nutrition, such as setting nutrient profiles, proposing a mandatory EU front-of-pack nutrition label and mandatory sustainability requirements for public food procurement.
But for a true transformation this is only the first step, and in some cases the strategy is outright deficient. This especially in addressing food environments where action remains dominated by consumer information and a voluntary industry code of conduct, contravening the advice of the EU’s own chief scientists. Also, while the impacts of large-scale animal farming are acknowledged, the commitment to transition to a ‘less and better’ animal product future is elusive.
Beyond specific actions, Farm to Fork finally creates the framework for a real debate on the future of food. A debate that should culminate in a comprehensive sustainable food systems law by 2023.
With the Farm to Fork published our work is not done, in fact it is only just beginning. Now a constructive, structured and action-oriented debate should take-off on the future of food. The health community must strengthen its voice to ensure this process delivers a true transformation for the benefit of people and planet.
The Farm to Fork Strategy was published on 20 May alongside a range of other important policy documents:
EU Farm to Fork Strategy
A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system
Evaluation of nutrition and health claims on food
Report on front-of-pack nutrition labelling
Report regarding the use of additional forms of expression and presentation of the nutrition declaration
Analysis of links between CAP Reform and Green Deal
EU Biodiversity Strategy towards 2030
EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 – Bringing nature back into our lives