In the context of continued controversy over the recent horsemeat scandal and reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) today proposed a new way forwards: a common food policy that puts citizens first, restoring confidence in the European agro-food chain. Convening key government, industry and NGO representatives in Vilnius, Lithuania, the EESC argued that consumers' need for safe, nutritious, affordable and healthy food is often neglected in the current "farm to fork" approach.
Monitoring processes, labelling and sustainability were high on the agenda at today's conference, titled "Food for Citizens", which emphasised that consumers have a lead role to play in the shift from a common agricultural policy to common food policy. According to the EESC, one of the main aims of civil society is to modernise and simplify the agro-food chain in Europe, making smarter rules for safer food and therefore reducing operators' administrative and regulatory burden. The EESC argued that involving organized civil society – and consumers in particular – would help to improve the quality of the European food safety and control system.