28 Jan 2015


Today the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN) presented its new policy paper on Sustainable Diets before the European Parliament. The BCFN paper is the latest in a series of stakeholder efforts calling on the EU institutions to build a more sustainable food system across Europe and globally.

MEP Giovanni La Via, Chair of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), and MEP Paolo De Castro, S&D Coordinator in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) co-hosted the event “Good for You, Good for the Environment”.
Barbara Buchner, Director of the Climate Policy Initiative and Member of the BCFN Advisory Board, said, “We hope that our research can encourage policymakers to include environmental considerations when developing dietary guidelines. Our model shows that foods that should be consumed more frequently for health also have a lower environmental impact.”

The BCFN calls on the European Commission to pursue its efforts by publishing its Communication “Building a Sustainable European Food System” and on the European Parliament to support this action by raising awareness about the environmental and health benefits of sustainable diets. Finally, the BCFN recommends expanding the 2014 Council conclusions on nutrition and physical activity to take account of the economic and environmental contribution of sustainable diets, such as the Mediterranean diet.
Panellists included Members of the European Parliament: MEP Paul Rübig, Chair of the Science & Technology Options Assessment (STOA), MEP Anja Hazekamp, Member of the Steering Group on Sustainable Food, as well as representatives of the European Commission and of the Council: Michael Flueh, Acting Director in the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, and Ambassador Marco Peronaci, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the EU. Duncan Williamson, Senior Food Policy Advisor at WWF, provided input from civil society.
“It is my hope that the science and sheer will for change we witnessed today will lead to institutional action,” said co-host MEP Giovanni La Via.
According to STOA Chair MEP Paul Rübig, “It is a scientific reality that production and consumption patterns today endanger not only the capacity of the planet to produce enough nutritious food in the future, but also human health.”

Already, the Sustainable Food Steering Group of the European Parliament, chaired by MEP Bart Staes and MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, has the support of over 60 MEPs. “We have been actively petitioning the Commission to publish its Communication”, said MEP Anja Hazekamp, a member of the Group. “Sustainable food is not just about food waste, labels, certificates or production standards, it is also about diets. A sustainable diet reduces the consumption of animal products that have a disproportionate impact on the planet's resources, the environment and global warming."

For MEP Paolo de Castro, “showing that this issue deserves and needs political attention is a crucial first step. More and more, food industry, civil society and scientific representatives are calling for a better food system. This is considerable food for thought for the EU institutions to join forces and address this challenge in the best way possible.”

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