European Parliament Approves Farm to Fork Strategy

Among the main tenants of the plan are animal welfare, emissions reduction and front-of-pack nutrition labeling. It will now be up to the European Commission to propose the formal legislation.

Nov. 8, 2021
By Ephantus Mukundi

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Last month, the European Parliament voted to adopt the Farm to Fork Strategy, paving the way for a health­ier and more sus­tain­able food sys­tem in the European Union.

The pro­posal by Anja Hazekamp, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the European United Left – Nordic Green Left party and rap­por­teur for the com­mit­tee on envi­ron­ment, pub­lic health and food safety, was sup­ported by 452 MEPs. Meanwhile, 170 voted against it, and 76 abstained.

Intensive meat pro­duc­tion and large-scale mono­cul­tures are cur­rently too great a bur­den on humans and ani­mals. Clear and mea­sur­able goals must be set for this.- Anja Hazekamp, Dutch MEP

It will now be up to the European Commission to pro­pose the strat­egy as for­mal leg­is­la­tion. Once this has been done, the European Parliament and Council of the European Union will vote to rat­ify it.

See Also: Most Agricultural Spending Does More Harm Than Good, UN Report Claims

Our farm­ers are already doing a great job, so when we rightly ask them to fur­ther reduce their use of pes­ti­cides, fer­til­iz­ers and antibi­otics, we need to sup­port them so pro­duc­tion does not just move out­side the E.U.,” said Herbert Dorfmann, the rap­por­teur for the com­mit­tee on agri­cul­ture and rural devel­op­ment.

Ensuring the avail­abil­ity of food at rea­son­able prices must con­tinue to be a pri­or­ity,” he added.

The E.U.’s approval of the Farm to Fork Strategy came in the wake of intense lob­by­ing from both sides of the issue. Environmental groups vocif­er­ously sup­ported the strat­egy, while the E.U. farm­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion, COPA-COGECA, made des­per­ate attempts to per­suade MEPs against it.

During the delib­er­a­tion and after the strategy’s pas­sage, the law­mak­ers empha­sized the need to have a sus­tain­able food sup­ply sys­tem that involved every­one from the farmer to the con­sumer.

To safe­guard the abil­ity of farm­ers to earn a fair share of the money made from their pro­duce, MEPs pro­posed that the European Commission work to strengthen their role within the sup­ply chain.

Among the main ten­ants of the strat­egy are ani­mal wel­fare, emis­sions reduc­tion and front-of-pack nutri­tion label­ing (FOPL).

The law­mak­ers agreed to estab­lish com­pre­hen­sive, har­mo­nized, sci­ence-based ani­mal wel­fare indi­ca­tors in the E.U. These include the need to end the use of cages in ani­mal hus­bandry. Animal prod­ucts from non‑E.U. coun­tries that do not meet those require­ments also would be banned.

The MEPs also called for ambi­tious emis­sion reduc­tion dur­ing food pro­duc­tion paired with sup­port for nature-based solu­tions and agro­forestry.

The MEPs fur­ther sug­gested using a sim­pli­fied FOPL to assist con­sumers in choos­ing health­ier foods. In addi­tion, the E.U. wants those labels made manda­tory with any exemp­tions requir­ing sci­ence-based evi­dence.

However, MEPs pre­vi­ously voted to exempt sin­gle-ingre­di­ent foods in April from the FOPL.

Thomas Haahr, a press offi­cer for the European Parliament, told Olive Oil Times that the full extent of the pan-European FOPL remains unclear and would need to be debated at the leg­isla­tive stage of the process in the European Parliament.

However, sup­port­ers of the Farm to Fork strat­egy said they were mov­ing in the right direc­tion.

Our food sys­tem needs to be reformed to func­tion within the car­ry­ing capac­ity of our Earth,” Hazekamp said. Intensive meat pro­duc­tion and large-scale mono­cul­tures are cur­rently too great a bur­den on humans and ani­mals. Clear and mea­sur­able goals must be set for this.”

Responsibility for more sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture must be a joint effort by farm­ers and con­sumers,” Dorfmann con­cluded.





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