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European Union food system

10-09-2020

The European Union (EU) food system is a complex and integrated structure of sectors whose governance is ensured by various EU sectoral policies. Its strengths and weaknesses became evident during the coronavirus crisis: food supplies were assured but the pandemic also revealed where action is needed to avoid disruptions threatening food supply. The recent launch of the EU 'Farm to Fork' strategy provides a first attempt at a common EU food policy, outlining the way forward for all food-related sectors ...

The European Union (EU) food system is a complex and integrated structure of sectors whose governance is ensured by various EU sectoral policies. Its strengths and weaknesses became evident during the coronavirus crisis: food supplies were assured but the pandemic also revealed where action is needed to avoid disruptions threatening food supply. The recent launch of the EU 'Farm to Fork' strategy provides a first attempt at a common EU food policy, outlining the way forward for all food-related sectors. It aims to bring sustainability to the heart of each step of the food chain and constitutes a framework for any further plans. This Briefing sets out the progress to date towards an EU food system and the issues posed by the current coronavirus crisis. The table at the end of the text explores a range of ongoing or potential initiatives for a sustainable EU food system in the future.

Nutrition labelling schemes used in Member States

27-07-2020

The controversial issue of ‘front-of-pack nutrition labelling’ (FOP labelling) has been high on the agenda of those following European food labelling issues for many years. With half of adults in the European Union being overweight and with many health problems related to unhealthy diets, making the healthy choice the easy choice for consumers has been advocated as one of the means that could help to solve problems. Front-of-pack nutrition labelling is simplified nutrition information provided on ...

The controversial issue of ‘front-of-pack nutrition labelling’ (FOP labelling) has been high on the agenda of those following European food labelling issues for many years. With half of adults in the European Union being overweight and with many health problems related to unhealthy diets, making the healthy choice the easy choice for consumers has been advocated as one of the means that could help to solve problems. Front-of-pack nutrition labelling is simplified nutrition information provided on the front of food packaging, aiming to help consumers with their food choices. Under the current EU rules, the indication of nutrition information on the front of packaging is not mandatory but could be provided on a voluntary basis. Some Member States have already introduced voluntary schemes to help consumers to identify healthier products. The Commission announces in its new ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy, launched in May 2020, that it will propose a mandatory harmonised front-of‑pack nutrition labelling system by the end of 2022. Consumer and health associations broadly consider that FOP nutrition labelling plays a key role in helping consumers make more informed, healthier food choices. There is, however, also criticism of such schemes, arguing that they are over-simplified and can mislead consumers. In its resolution on the European Green Deal, adopted in January 2020, the European Parliament welcomes the plan for a sustainable food system strategy, as well as the Commission’s intention to explore new ways to give consumers better information, and calls on the Commission to consider improved food labelling.

What if insects were on the menu in Europe?

03-07-2020

Insects, while commonly consumed elsewhere in the world, have long been off the menu in Europe – but they could soon be creeping their way onto our plates. Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, is now gaining serious interest – is it set to take Europe by swarm?

Insects, while commonly consumed elsewhere in the world, have long been off the menu in Europe – but they could soon be creeping their way onto our plates. Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, is now gaining serious interest – is it set to take Europe by swarm?

'Farm to Fork' strategy: Striving for healthy and sustainable food

17-06-2020

Launched on 20 May 2020, the 'Farm to Fork' strategy put forward the EU’s ambition for making its food system a model of sustainability at all stages of the food value chain. Ahead of the desired engagement of institutions, stakeholders and citizens in a broad debate, the strategy is already high on the agri-food community’s agenda.

Launched on 20 May 2020, the 'Farm to Fork' strategy put forward the EU’s ambition for making its food system a model of sustainability at all stages of the food value chain. Ahead of the desired engagement of institutions, stakeholders and citizens in a broad debate, the strategy is already high on the agri-food community’s agenda.

Research for the AGRI Committee - The Farm to Fork Strategy implications for agriculture and the CAP

15-05-2020

The aim of this In-Depth Analysis prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies is to explore the possible implications of the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) for agriculture and the CAP and, as a result, on the legislative works of the AGRI Committee over the 2020 - 2023 period. The analysis is based on the following sources: the Communication on the European Green Deal (COM (2019) 640 of 11 December 2019); the EC roadmap and key actions of the European Green Deal (11 December ...

The aim of this In-Depth Analysis prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies is to explore the possible implications of the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) for agriculture and the CAP and, as a result, on the legislative works of the AGRI Committee over the 2020 - 2023 period. The analysis is based on the following sources: the Communication on the European Green Deal (COM (2019) 640 of 11 December 2019); the EC roadmap and key actions of the European Green Deal (11 December 2019); the EC F2F Strategy roadmap (17 February 2020); the Communication ‘A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ (COM (2020) 381 of 20 May 2020); the Draft Action Plan of the Farm to Fork Strategy (Annex of the EC Communication of 20 May 2020); the Commission staff working document ‘Analysis of links between CAP reform and Green Deal’ (SWD (2020) of 20 May 2020); and others background documents accompanying the F2F Communication of 20 May 2020.

What if we could fight antibiotic resistance with probiotics?

23-04-2020

Recent research suggests that the future combat against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) may involve probiotic-based approaches. Their use in our microbial ecosystems, including humans, animals and the healthcare environment, may provide a novel approach which deserves exploration.

Recent research suggests that the future combat against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) may involve probiotic-based approaches. Their use in our microbial ecosystems, including humans, animals and the healthcare environment, may provide a novel approach which deserves exploration.

What if CRISPR became a standard breeding technique?

08-04-2020

New genetic technologies allow scientists to drastically accelerate the traditional breeding process, thereby achieving in years what previously took centuries. How will it change the way we produce food?

New genetic technologies allow scientists to drastically accelerate the traditional breeding process, thereby achieving in years what previously took centuries. How will it change the way we produce food?

Commitments made at the hearing of Stella KYRIAKIDES, Commissioner-designate - Health

22-11-2019

The commissioner-designate, Stella Kyriakides, appeared before the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament on 01 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, she made a number of oral commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including "protecting and promoting public health" and ...

The commissioner-designate, Stella Kyriakides, appeared before the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament on 01 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, she made a number of oral commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including "protecting and promoting public health" and "food safety and animal and plant health".

Guidelines for submission and evaluation of applications for the approval of active substances in pesticides

11-11-2019

Active substances are an essential element of pesticides. The approval of active substance occurs at EU level, and guidance documents and guidelines for this procedure exist. They aim to clarify, harmonise and standardise the complex approval process. This study examines the guidance and guidelines which exist for active substance approval; the level of harmonisation among them; the connection to the good laboratory practice (GLP) principles; and provides an overview of the studies which are required ...

Active substances are an essential element of pesticides. The approval of active substance occurs at EU level, and guidance documents and guidelines for this procedure exist. They aim to clarify, harmonise and standardise the complex approval process. This study examines the guidance and guidelines which exist for active substance approval; the level of harmonisation among them; the connection to the good laboratory practice (GLP) principles; and provides an overview of the studies which are required for active substance approval.

Külső szerző

John NGANGA, Michela BISONNI and Maria CHRISTODOULOU

New plant-breeding techniques: Applicability of EU GMO rules

10-10-2019

New plant genetic modification techniques, referred to as 'gene editing' or 'genome editing', have evolved rapidly in recent years, allowing much faster and more precise results than conventional plant-breeding techniques. They are seen as a promising innovative field for the agri-food industry, offering great technical potential. There is, however, considerable debate as to how these new techniques should be regulated, and whether some or all of them should fall within the scope of EU legislation ...

New plant genetic modification techniques, referred to as 'gene editing' or 'genome editing', have evolved rapidly in recent years, allowing much faster and more precise results than conventional plant-breeding techniques. They are seen as a promising innovative field for the agri-food industry, offering great technical potential. There is, however, considerable debate as to how these new techniques should be regulated, and whether some or all of them should fall within the scope of EU legislation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Those who take the view that the new techniques should be exempt from GMO legislation generally argue that the end product is very similar to products generated using conventional breeding techniques, or that similar changes could also occur naturally. Those who consider that the new techniques should fall within the scope of GMO legislation contend that the processes used mean that plants bred using the new techniques are in fact genetically modified. In July 2018, the European Court of Justice gave a judgment ruling that genome-edited organisms fall under the scope of European GMO legislation. While welcomed by some, the judgment has also sparked criticism and calls for the new European Commission to amend EU GMO legislation. This is an updated edition of a 2016 Briefing.

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