Why Europe needs a health-oriented food policy

In the face of multiple converging crises, Europe must throw its regulatory weight behind an ambitious and equitable reform of the food system. A public health vision centred on the health of people, the planet, and animals, is well-placed to lead the way.

This EPHA position paper proposes a package of policy recommendations to create food environments that make the healthy and sustainable food choice the default and most desirable choice, thereby enabling healthy eating for all and helping to achieve food security within planetary boundaries.

It also focuses on the importance of social policies, ‘nutrition-sensitive’ agriculture, tackling the commercial determinants of unhealthy diets, and creating a new social contract on the production and consumption of animal foods.

A health-oriented approach to food systems change can bring many significant benefits:

  • A food system designed around healthy eating can achieve food security within planetary boundaries and a more effective use of land;
  • A food system based on health equity will ensure dignity and well-being for consumers, producers and workers alike;
  • A food system that recognises that human health and well-being is dependent on the health of the planet will prioritise tackling the climate and biodiversity emergencies;
  • A food system focused on the health and welfare of animals will support a transition to sustainable animal farming with its many societal co-benefits;
  • A food system that strives to fulfil people’s right to food and health can contribute to a people-centred society that puts the public interest first before commercial imperatives.

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