Food sustainability

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Food is at the centre of our lives and an integral part of the European culture. However, the food we eat, the ways we produce it and the amounts wasted have major impacts on human health, natural resources and society as a whole:

  • Citizens –and children in particular– are increasingly suffering from overweight and obesity due to unhealthy diets.
  • Farmers and workers do not get a fair price for their produce.
  • One third of food is lost or wasted across the food chain.
  • The environment is paying the bill with the dramatic effects of food production and consumption on climate change, loss of biodiversity, air and water pollution, soil degradation, etc.

The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call for change. It has demonstrated that getting food "from farm to fork" cannot be taken for granted and has shown the interconnectedness of actors and activities throughout the food system. Fair, resource efficient, inclusive and sustainable supply chains in the whole agriculture and food sector are needed more than ever to deliver equally for citizens, farmers, workers and business.

The EESC has been for years at the forefront of calling for a sustainable and comprehensive food policy. Such an integrated and systemic approach is essential to tackle the multiple and interconnected challenges affecting food systems; to deliver economic, environmental and socio-cultural sustainability; to ensure integration and coherence across policy areas (such as agriculture, environment, health, education, trade, economy, technology, etc.); and to promote cooperation across levels of governance

  • Adopted on 19/09/2018 - Bureau decision date: 13/02/2018
    Reference
    NAT/732-EESC-2018-01-01-02522
    (Italy
    (Italy

    The Commission is proposing a targeted revision of the General Food Law Regulation coupled with the revision of eight pieces of sectoral legislation, to bring them in line with the general rules and strengthen transparency in the area of GMOs, feed additives, smoke flavourings, food contact materials, food additives, food enzymes and flavourings, plant protection products and novel foods.

    EESC opinion: Transparency in scientific assessments and governance of EFSA
  • Adopted on 23/05/2018 - Bureau decision date: 05/12/2017
    Reference
    NAT/727-EESC-2018-00162
    Civil Society Organisations - GR III
    Czech Republic
    (Ireland

    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - The Future of Food and Farming

    EESC opinion: The future of food and farming (Communication)
    Position paper Birdlife
  • Adopted on 06/12/2017 - Bureau decision date: 23/02/2017
    Reference
    NAT/711-EESC-2017-02234-00-00-AC-TRA
    Workers - GR II
    Germany

    The own-initiative opinion, prepared by the EESC Permanent Study Group on Sustainable Food Systems, will aim to identify existing challenges, policy inconsistencies and obstacles to a more coherent food policy approach at EU level; to provide examples of ongoing transitions to more sustainable food policies at local/regional/national level; to highlight the role of civil society in building partnerships among stakeholders across the food supply chain; and to define how a comprehensive food policy for the EU should look, including an indicative roadmap.

    EESC opinion: Civil society's contribution to the development of a comprehensive food policy in the EU (own-initiative opinion)
  • Adopted on 18/10/2017 - Bureau decision date: 28/03/2017
    Reference
    NAT/713-EESC-2017-01-01-EESC-2017-01814-00-00-AC-TRA
    (Estonia
    EESC opinion: Land use for sustainable food production and ecosystem services (exploratory opinion requested by the Estonian Presidency)
  • Adopted on 25/05/2016 - Bureau decision date: 08/12/2015
    Reference
    NAT/677-EESC-2016-01-01-0232
    (Lithuania

    In the past few years, civil society has been increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impact of food production and consumption. At the request of the Dutch EU Presidency, the EESC is preparing an exploratory opinion on how to achieve sustainable food systems in a resource-constrained world. The opinion takes a holistic and comprehensive approach, looking at the interdependence of food production and consumption as well as fostering inter-sectoral cooperation.

    EESC opinion: More sustainable food systems (exploratory opinion requested by the Dutch presidency)
  • Adopted on 16/09/2015
    Reference
    NAT/669-EESC-0000-01-01-02913-00-01-ac-tra
    Employers - GR I
    Spain
    Workers - GR II
    Netherlands
    Plenary session number
    510
    -
  • Adopted on 18/03/2015
    Reference
    NAT/633-EESC-2014-01-01-02479-00-00-ac-tra
    Employers - GR I
    Slovakia
    Plenary session number
    506
    -

     

     

  • Adopted on 16/10/2014
    Reference
    NAT/647-EESC-2014-02977-00-00-ac-tra
    Civil Society Organisations - GR III
    Latvia
    Plenary session number
    502
    -

    Adopted at the plenary session of 15-16.10.2014

     

     

  • Adopted on 09/07/2014
    Reference
    NAT/648-EESC-2014-01-01-0347
    Plenary session number
    500
    -

     

     

  • Adopted on 04/06/2014
    Reference
    NAT/645-EESC-2014-01-01-2896
    Plenary session number
    499
    -

    Opinion on the Proposal for a Directive on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to caseins and caseinates intended for human consumption and repealing Council Directive 83/417/EEC