Climate change, obesity, biodiversity loss and unsustainable farming systems have been addressed in a Common Food Policy report presented to the European Parliament today (7 February).

The culmination of three years of research – led by the Panel of Experts of Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) – involving farmers, food entrepreneurs, civil society activists, scientists and policymakers, the report lists 80 reform proposals designed to help EU food systems incorporate more sustainable practices.

According to IPES-Food co-chair and lead author Olivier De Schutter, a Common Food Policy can stimulate a transition to sustainable food systems in a way that the CAP, as a Common Agricultural ​Policy, cannot.

“We eat three times per day, but the EU does not have an overarching strategy to deliver the food systems that we want in Europe,” ​De Schutter told delegates in Brussels today.

Instead, the EU has separate strategies aimed at combatting obesity, alongside agri-trade policies that make junk food “cheap and abundant”, ​he continued. “We offer premiums to young farmers, alongside a subsidy model that drives up land prices and undermines access to land. And we have environmental standards, while the advisory services farmers would need to meet them are being defunded.”

According to De Schutter, a Common Food Policy would eliminate these “costly contradictions”​. The report demonstrates how the EU can tackle the “root of the problem: the way we make policies and set priorities in food systems”.

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