The European Parliament’s agriculture and environment committees have voted to adopt the European Commission’s report on the Farm to Fork Strategy. Twenty members voted against the report while 10 abstained.
“There is a need for enhanced sustainability in all stages of the food chain and everyone from farmers to consumers has a role to play,” policymakers said. “A shift in consumption towards more healthy diets is also needed.”
Two-thirds of E.U. consumers have told us they are willing to eat more sustainably but face hurdles, thus we are glad MEPs recognized the need to make it easy for consumers to turn words into deeds.
“Overconsumption of meat and highly processed foods with high salt, sugar and fat content must be addressed,” they added.See Also: Europe Introduces Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Half by 2030
The adoption of the report paved the way for the strategy to be tabled before the full parliament for debate. According to the European Commission, this is likely to happen in October during one of the plenary sessions.
Members of the European Parliament welcomed the report saying that it was one step closer to providing high quality, affordable, animal friendly, healthy foods to the European consumers.
“Two-thirds of E.U. consumers have told us they are willing to eat more sustainably but face hurdles, thus we are glad MEPs recognized the need to make it easy for consumers to turn words into deeds,” said Camille Perrin, the European Consumer Organization’s senior food policy officer following the vote.
Highlights of the Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy include science-based animal welfare indicators aimed at phasing out cruel practices, such as the use of cages for animals. It also emphasizes high standards and better methods of capturing, transporting and slaughtering marine animals.
In addition, the strategy sets an ambitious target in organic farming with the intention of increasing agricultural land dedicated to organic farming in the E.U. by at least 25 percent.
Under the organic farming strategy, the Commission seeks to reduce the use of pesticides by 50 percent and cut down fertilizer usage by 20 percent.
The Farm to Fork Strategy was first presented in May 2020. The strategy listed 27 measures aimed at facilitating greener, healthier, more secure and robust systems in all stages of food production.
However, not everyone in Europe is happy with the strategy. Copa-Cogeca, Europe’s largest farmers’ union, said it did not support the initiative due to a lack of impact assessments for farmers.
“Environmental sustainability cannot be disconnected from social and economic sustainability, and this synergy goes further with incremental and pragmatic targets,” Copa-Cogeca said.
While the union conceded that the strategy does address important issues, including carbon farming and trade, Copa-Cogeca warned some proposals crossed “red lines.”
“However, a limited but very impactful number of proposals, approved today by the vote of the agricultural and environmental committees, cross the red lines and quite simply call into question our food sovereignty, the future of our agriculture and our rural areas,” the union said.