20 Oct Fateful vote on agriculture: EU Parliament stands up to lobby pressure on farm-to-fork
Strasbourg, 20.10.2021. After weeks of siege by aggressive lobbying, the European Parliament in Strasbourg voted in favour of the ambitious Farm-to-Fork strategy. MEP Manuela Ripa (ÖDP): “Finally, the course is being set for the necessary transformation of agriculture and for a sustainable, fair food system. This is good for animal welfare, for supporting farmers, for a more sustainable agriculture and for consumers.”
In May 2020, the Commission published the Farm-to-Fork Strategy as the food and farming component of the European Green Deal. The strategy lists 27 measures to make the entire European food system sustainable: From greener food production to recommendations to retailers to food labelling guidelines for consumers and more.
“By calling for a significant reduction in the use of chemical and toxic pesticides by 2030, we have succeeded in setting one of the most ambitious goals of the Farm-to-Fork Strategy,” Manuela Ripa said. The current overuse of pesticides is driving species extinction and poisoning the soil. This only helps agriculture in the short term and is not sustainable. For this reason, the MEP also fought for a ban on the export of pesticides to third countries, which have long been banned in the EU.
Furthermore, the European Parliament is explicitly in favour of higher animal welfare standards and welcomes the Commission’s plans to reduce the sale of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming by 50%.
“Another strong signal for animal welfare is the import ban on animal products from third countries whose production does not meet EU standards,” Ripa explains. The fact that in future there should be a clear definition of intensive livestock farming in the EU’s legal system to prevent EU funds being allocated to industrial livestock farming is another major success.
Consumer protection is also not neglected in Farm-to-Fork. The vote succeeded in pointing out the necessity of labelling animal products with regard to the production process and animal welfare indicators: “Consumers need to know at first glance how the animals were kept in order to be able to make informed purchasing decisions. In addition, the Farm-to-Fork Strategy also calls for mandatory labelling of synthetic ingredients as well as mandatory nutrition labels on products.
Manuela Ripa concludes: “I am pleased that so many of my and our goals made it into the report. Of course, it is an ambitious programme, but one thing is certain: sticking to the status quo will be to the detriment of all of us – consumers, farmers, animals and the environment – in the long run. The national strategic plans of the member states for the implementation of the EU agricultural policy must be more aligned with the farm-to-fork strategy. It is also now up to the Commission to turn the strategy into ambitious legislation!”
For more information and answers to questions, please read the GREENS/EFA Group’s Mythbuster on the Farm-to-Fork Strategy.
Photo Credit: Pixelbliss – adobe stock