The European Commissioner responsible for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, joined today the CoR's plenary session for a debate on the EU's food policy, in which he highlighted the role of cities and regions as drivers for more sustainable food production and consumption.
Taking the floor on behalf of the PES Group, the PES-NAT coordinator Karsten Uno Petersen, Regional Councillor from Denmark, underlined the overall importance of a well-functioning and high-quality health sector for the wellbeing of EU citizens and called for the EU's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) to be extended into a broader Common Agriculture and Food policy.
"The need for dietary changes (aimed at preventing and tackling health risks) and for modifications at the level of production modes (such as the prohibition of pesticides) go hand in hand when it comes to building a healthier society" he emphasized.
Petersen also pointed towards the added value of short food supply chains. "They guarantee fairer prices for farmers, access to fresh products for consumers, a reduced environmental impact, and greater social cohesion" he stressed. "Despite these advantages, on average only 15% of EU farms sell more than half of their production directly to consumers. We can do better."
Last but not least, Petersen reiterated the CoR's call for a 30% food waste reduction by 2025. As recently outlined in a report published by the EU Court of Auditors, a third of food production is still wasted or lost.