EESC proposes new Sustainable Dietary Guidelines for Europe

Peter Schmidt

Food plays a central role in people's lives and must not only be seen from a nutritional or health point of view, but also from an environmental and social angle. To facilitate such a comprehensive sustainable food system, the EESC proposes the introduction of new Sustainable Dietary Guidelines.

"What we eat affects our health and our planet. We need policies to promote healthier and more sustainable diets, and Sustainable Dietary Guidelines must be developed. This is essential to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change" says Peter Schmidt, rapporteur for the own-initiative opinion.

"Promoting healthy and sustainable diets is important in the context of a comprehensive EU food policy. Sustainable Dietary Guidelines and clear labelling schemes, including origin labelling, that take into account cultural and geographical differences between and within Member States would help give a clearer direction to farms, processors, retailers and food services. The agri-food system would also benefit from a new, more transparent framework to produce, process, distribute and sell healthier and more sustainable food at fairer prices," says Maurizio Reale, president of the EESC's Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT).

In order to establish these Europe-wide guidelines, the EESC proposes the creation of an expert group, consisting of relevant professionals and scientists from the worlds of nutrition, public health, food, and environmental and social sciences. This group of experts should draw up evidence-based guidelines within two years. (sma)