Thirty-three leading campaign groups, farming organizations, and think tanks have come together to call on the next European Commission President to put an EU food policy in place.
In an open letter to the lead candidates for the presidency, the organizations – representing the sectors of farming, fisheries, environment, animal welfare, health, consumers, development, social justice, climate, and forestry – also called for a European Commission Vice-President to be made responsible for ensuring the transition to sustainable food systems.
The letter argues that the creation of an integrated food policy, under the stewardship of a European Commission Vice-President, is essential to coordinate the efforts of the different departments impacting our food systems within the European Commission, including DG AGRI, CLIMA, COMP, EMPL, ENERGY, ENVI, GROW, MARE, SANTE, TRADE and TRANSPORT.
With the EU elections 2019 ahead, the signatories highlighted the potential for an integrated food policy to remedy the democratic deficit in food systems and re-balance power. By shifting the focus from sectoral policies (for example: agriculture, fisheries, health) to food policy, a wider range of stakeholders can be involved in designing and assessing policies.
The open letter echoes the key findings of IPES-Food’s February 2019 report, ‘Towards a Common Food Policy for the EU’.
As a signatory, HEAL warmly supports the intention behind this call to break the silos between the Common Agriculture Policy, driven by productivism and export markets, and protective health and environmental policies. The urgent climate stakes and the growing health concerns raised by our diet and exposure to pesticides and food contaminants require integrated policies which should not contradict or be hijacked by agriculture and industrial food lobbies.
“We need healthy food for a healthy planet, and we need it from farm to fork. The EU can lead the way in a transition towards sustainable food systems and agriculture with huge climate, environment and public health benefits,” says Yannick Vicaire, Chemicals and Health Policy Campaigner at HEAL.