The Market Advisory Council (MAC) delivered recommendations to the European Commission on the setting-up of an EU framework for a Sustainable Food System. In the context of the Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Commission plans the adoption of a horizontal framework law to accelerate and facilitate the transition and ensure that foods placed on the EU market increasingly become sustainable. The framework aims to establish new foundations for future food policies by introducing sustainability objectives and principles. A proposal for a sustainable food labelling framework to empower consumers to make sustainable food choices will also be part of this intervention. The legislative proposal is planned for the third quarter of 2023.
According to MAC members:
- Close cooperation between the different Commission services is needed, to ensure that the aspects relevant for the fishery and aquaculture products are adequately reflected.
- The role of all food system actors (e.g., primary producers, processors and traders, retailers and wholesalers) and other actors (e.g., EU institutions, governments, education systems, NGOs, financial institutions, researchers) must be recognised, while support must be provided to smaller actors trying to transition to more sustainable models.
- Information to consumers should cover environmental, social, and economic sustainability, while food labelling should be easily readable and understandable. Existing difficulties, such as prioritisation of price over sustainability, transparency and truthfulness of information, and level of understanding, must be considered.
- If an EU label on sustainability is developed, it must cover both EU and imported products, plus it must cover all food products in the market.
- Schools and public institutions should be encouraged to contribute to the transition through public procurement.
Benoît Thomassen, Chair of Working Group 3 (Sanitary & Consumer Issues), commented: “The development of a Sustainable Food System Framework is welcomed. Sustainability is fundamental for food security and for the resilience of the food system in the long-term. The harmonisation of EU legislation on sustainability of food systems is beneficial for both economic operators and consumers, since the application of different systems at Member States’ level can cause market disruption and confusion among consumers”.
Full advice available here.