Freshfel Europe, the European Heart Network (EHN) and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) have today (2 February) written to European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan asking for concrete mechanisms and sufficient budget to support the European Commission’s Communication on The Future of Food and Farming’s prominent objective of healthy sustainable diets.
In the letter, the three organisations affirm that through a smartly designed future CAP, the EU can address its citizens’ concerns and achieve a triple win for economy, environment and health.
Representing the European fresh produce industry, as well as NGOs, foundations and groups working to prevent and reduce cardiovascular diseases and give a voice to public health in Europe, the three organisations, Freshfel Europe, EHN and EPHA have called on Commissioner Hogan to ensure that the future CAP has a positive impact on promoting healthier nutrition to EU citizens through sustainable agricultural production.
The letter proposes that as the Commission’s Communication on The Future of Food and Farming has clear intentions to include health and nutrition considerations in the future CAP’s regulatory framework, “the EU can only go forward with a CAP that has healthy sustainable diets as a prominent objective” where these intentions are “translated into concrete mechanisms with sufficient budgets”.
Significantly, the letter to Commissioner Hogan refers to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which the EU has adopted, including the goal to reduce by one third premature mortality from chronic diseases and promote mental health and well-being by 2030.
The three organisations state that, “what and how we produce and promote food is decisive for success in achieving this goal as many of the major chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, are diet related”.
Currently chronic diseases impose a high cost to the EU economy, and despite the EU promotion policy and EU school fruit and vegetable scheme, the average consumption level of fresh fruit and vegetables in most Member States is under the WHO recommended level of 400g per capita per day.
Freshfel Europe, EHN and EPHA affirm that by helping EU citizens shift towards a higher level of consumption of plant-based foods, which would reflect dietary guidelines, the CAP can achieve the uptake of healthy sustainable diets across all Member States, which would benefit at the same time both the EU economy and address the EU’s environmental challenges.