Parliament adopts its Report on the Farm to Fork
21 October – The European Parliament adopted its Farm to Fork report, with a vast majority of 452 of the 699 Members of Parliament voting in favour. The adoption of the text sends a clear signal to the European Commission and Member States on the need for a shift towards sustainable food systems through ambitious action across the food chain.
The Report is comprehensive, looking at all improvements that need to occur to ensure that shift, while guaranteeing high living standards and the well-being of farmers. The Parliament highlights the importance of food environments in achieving more sustainable consumption patterns, while not neglecting the role of consumer choice. Following the One Health approach, it calls, amongst others, for binding pesticide-reduction targets, a ban on the exports of pesticides, and targets for GreenHouse Gas emissions from agriculture and related land use as part of the ‘fit for 55’ package. The text stresses the importance to follow-up on the EU code of conduct on responsible business and marketing practices, and notably calls for an EU-wide regulatory approach to tackle the exposure of children and adolescents to advertising and marketing of processed foods high in fat, sugar and salt on broadcast and digital media, a call AIM has been making for many years. It also calls for EU-wide science-based recommendations on healthy diets to contribute to a “population-wide shift in consumption”. Furthermore, the Parliament welcomes the announcement to establish EU nutrient profiles and underlines the need for EU-wide mandatory front-of-pack nutritional labels (though not specifically mentioning the Nutriscore). It also welcomes the Commission’s intention to create a sustainable food labelling framework. The Report highlights that food prices are also key in sending the right signal to consumers and thus supports giving Member States flexibility in adapting VAT rates, taking into account the health and environmental impact of food. Food contact materials (FCM) are also included in the text. The Parliament calls amongst others, for specific provisions to substitute endocrine disrupting chemicals and other hazardous chemicals in all FCM. Other essential aspects such as the Common Agricultural Policy, animal welfare, or trade, are also covered by the report.
In conclusion, despite a heavy lobby by industry to get an additional overall impact assessment that would delay any action, the Parliament has kept its ambitions high. The text will be discussed at the next meeting of the AIM prevention working group.