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Issue n°13 June 2015


GREEN INSIGHT INTO EU FOOD POLICY

Full ban on cloned animals in food approved by MEPs

Circular economy package: Cross-party majority calls for a new ambitious proposal including sustainable food aspects

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

New Navdanya Films: 'The living seeds' and 'The living soil'

TTIP – Increased Trade for Better Living: Conference conclusions on Agriculture and food

How to avoid endocrine disrupting pesticides?: New leaflet by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN)

JOIN THE FOOD REVOLUTION: THE STORY OF THE MONTH

Every month food actors who joined the 'Join the Food Revolution' network share their story, showing the way to take back control over your plate –

WHAT'S ON THE PLATE?

Upcoming Events

GREEN INSIGHT INTO EU FOOD POLICY

Full ban on cloned animals in food approved by MEPs

The European Parliament's Environment and Food safety and Agriculture committees today voted on draft EU legislation on the cloning of animals. The Greens welcomed the vote, which would introduce a comprehensive ban on cloning, and on the placing on the market of food from clones and their descendants, as well as strengthening the legal base for animal cloning

Read our press release

Why the Greens call for a ban on food from descendants of cloned animals:  More here Check our infographic available in EN, DE, FR, NL

Circular economy package: Cross-party majority calls for a new ambitious proposal including sustainable food aspects

On 17th June, the European Parliament’s Environment committee adopted a report on the circular economy. The European Commission’s withdrawal of its initial legislative proposal on the circular economy drew heavy criticism from the European Parliament, EU Environment ministers and civil society. This report calls on the European Commission to draft a new and ambitious proposal by the end of the year. MEPs hope that Commissioner Timmermans will keep his high level promises for the future circular economy proposals.

The report includes significant steps on food related issues. It calls on the Commission to propose, by the end of 2015, targets, measures and instruments to efficiently tackle food waste, including setting a binding food waste reduction target in the manufacturing, retail/distribution, food service/hospitability sectors and the households sector of at least 30% by 2025. It also calls on the Commission, when conducting an impact assessment on new relevant legislative proposals, to evaluate their potential impact in terms of food waste.

Increasing the use of environmentally friendly food packaging is also a demand from the circular economy report. Members of the European Parliament ask the Commission to come up with an assessment of the feasibility of gradually replacing food packaging with bio-based and biodegradable, compostable material in accordance with European standards.

The text also asks the Commission to present the communication on sustainable food, which has been postponed several times since 2013, during the first half of 2016. As has already been requested on several occasions by MEPs in common letters[1] to the Commission, this communication should holistically address resource inefficiencies in the food chain and encourage the development of a coherent European sustainable food policy.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

New Navdanya Films: 'The living seeds' and 'The living soil'

The Living Farms movie series explores the questions of GMOs, organic farming, farmers' rights and the future of agriculture, looking at five specific aspects of farming – Seed, Soil, Food, Fibres and Farmers. The films, produced by Navdanya are based on the testimonies of farmers, seed savers, agronomists and scientists from across India, as well as those of indigenous farming cultures abroad. Navdanya has been fighting for the rights of the farmer and for seed freedom for 25 years. The first two movies, 'The living seeds and 'The living soil' are available here.

TTIP – Increased Trade for Better Living: Conference conclusions on Agriculture and food

At the event, which was jointly organised by Demeter and European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) under the umbrella of ARC2020 and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), participants from civil society raised serious concerns about the impacts of TTIP on access to good food and health as well as the risk of deterioration of environmental, agricultural and animal welfare standards. Participants of the conference agreed that the momentum on TTIP should be seized in order to promote a fairer and more sustainable EU trade policy via an alternative trade agreement proposal which supports fair and sustainable policy choices.

When it comes to agriculture, the conference concluded that it should be excluded from TTIP, and the following aims should be implemented in all trade relations instead:

'- Emphasis should be placed on developing local and regional markets and food economies. Agricultural products are part of our culture. We should protect and support local and regional product identities, supporting the cultural differences across the EU.

- Trade agreements must enable trade partners to make sovereign decisions on the authorisation of imports of certain products based on the precautionary principle. Independent science must be used to assess chances and risks. Other relevant socio-economic and environmental impacts on agricultural production must be taken into account when making decisions.

- To ensure access to a wide range of open pollinated and traditional plant varieties and GMO free food for consumers, effective measures to avoid GMO contamination in imported goods must be in place

- There are substantial differences between the US and the EU in production systems and legislation which may result in unfair competition and may potentially lower standards. Increasing pressure from agribusiness may result in further intensification of animal farming, thereby potentially lowering existing animal welfare standards and threatening future improvements and adjustments of animal welfare law (‘regulatory chill’). '

More information on this event here

How to avoid endocrine disrupting pesticides?: new leaflet by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN)

As explained in the PAN document, EDCs are chemicals that disrupt the hormonal system of humans, flora and fauna. EDCs send confusing messages across the body which modify the action of natural hormones and leading to dysfunction and the development of severe diseases, the main example being cancers of the reproductive systems, but other diseases like diabetes, obesity, infertility and mental problems are also rising. EDCs are found in commonly used products (e.g, detergents, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals shampoos), including pesticides used for food production in intensive agriculture, using a large amount of chemical pesticides as pest management technique. Humans are exposed to EDCs residues through skin contact, inhalation and most importantly through ingestion of food.

Around 50 pesticides used in Europe show EDC properties and 30 of them can be detected in food as residues. But, despite the risk and in respect of the precautionary principle, EU policy-makers keep delaying the establishment of criteria to identify EDCs. PAN calls policy makers to proceed quickly in the approval of the criteria and the enforcement of the law to protect human health and the environment.

So how do you limit your exposure to EDC pesticides now? This is what the new leaflet by PAN explains in a nutshell. Political decision on this issue is urgent and of major importance but you can already play your part to avoid these dreadful chemicals in your daily life. Favour organic, choose seasonal and local produce, peel your fruits and vegetables, prefer non-chemical products for your garden, and look for labels which promote environmentally friendly and sustainable goods.

More information in PAN leaflet  and PAN Europe website

JOIN THE FOOD REVOLUTION: THE STORY OF THE MONTH

Formacompost provides solutions to help you reduce and manage organic waste. Fromacompost offers alternative composting methods for individual or collective projects (shared composting area in your district, education workshop to schools, hospitals, mass catering), training for the installation and use of dry toilets, and provides compostable and reusable equipment for your Zero Waste events. Get to know more about Formacompost and Join the Food Revolution yourself!

WHAT'S ON THE PLATE?

26-27/06: Celebrating Soil, Celebrating Life conference, Amsterdam

2/07: Greens/EFA Conference Creativity and education to environment: This conference will touch upon the question of environmental education, which is missing in most of the national schools curricula. This event will introduce innovative and creative projects connecting food, climate and health with education, and will use these examples of good practices for better reflection on creative ways to improve the approach to school education.

More info soon on the Greens/EFA website

8/07: Conference: What cities and public companies should expect from TTIP & Co. for public procurement?, Brussels Belgium

 


 

[1] http://eat-better.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Images/Food_site/EC_Sustainable_Food_Final_140926-PDf.pdf

http://eat-better.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Other_Food_GMO/Sustainable_Food_EC_ltr_FINAL_150115-2.pdf


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