In this report EPHA explores the links between public health and the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Unhealthy diets, smoking and harmful alcohol consumption are key causes of chronic diseases, responsible for the overwhelming majority of Europe’s burden of mortality (86%) and disease (77%). Environmental degradation, antibiotic resistance and climate change endanger the last century’s significant gains in health. Agriculture is implicated in all of these.
At the same time, there are limits to what agricultural policy can do to improve public health outcomes. The food and beverage processing and retail industries, in the context of international supply chains, are now the key actors in shaping people’s diets, farmers’ incomes and production decisions. Therefore, while grounding its analysis and recommendations in the CAP, this paper draws attention to the need to address the food system as a whole – from farm to plate – in a coherent, health-sensitive and sustainable European food and agricultural policy.
The paper presents observations and recommendations for ways to enhance coherence between the CAP and public health, expressed through five strategic objectives:
1— Ensure full application of the Health in All Policies obligation
2— Align the CAP with promoting sustainable diets
3— Make the CAP consistent with reducing harmful alcohol consumption
4— Make the CAP consistent with reducing tobacco use
5— Build a CAP that enhances delivery of public goods