‘Farm to Fork’: EU Parliament calls for much needed food system overhaul

PRESS RELEASE - 20.10.2021

The European Parliament 1, setting the EU on the path towards a more sustainable food system. The European Consumer organisation (BEUC) applauds MEPs for adopting an ambitious position and resisting pressure to water down their stance.2

Bolstering the EU’s plans for sustainable food and farming, EU lawmakers voted for:

  • Greener food production: targets for cutting back on pesticides, fertilisers and antimicrobials in farming must become binding, MEPs said.
  • Healthier food environments: recognising that what surrounds us influences our consumption choices, the Parliament called on the EU to regulate the marketing and advertising to children of food high in fat, sugar and salt. MEPs also want food prices to reflect the ‘true’ costs of production (also known as ‘externalities’), including for the environment and society.
  • Front-of-pack nutrition labelling: MEPs backed an EU-wide simplified nutritional label (e.g., using a colour-code) to help consumers choose healthier foods. EU lawmakers want such label to be mandatory and stressed that any exemptions should be science-based.
  • Greenwashing has no place on food: regulation is needed to weed out the market of misleading green claims.

Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, commented:

“Since Day 1, consumer groups have thrown their weight behind the EU Commission’s ambitious Farm to Fork Strategy. This blueprint is a crucial step to finally put the EU on the right track to make our food healthier, greener and fairer. So, we are thrilled the EU Parliament have heeded the consumer voice.

“Most consumers are ready to change the way they eat for the planet. But they can’t do it on their own. Decision makers must make consumers’ lives easier, by ensuring the sustainable and healthy food choices are easy to spot and affordable. There are plenty of solutions at hand: sending the right price signals, tackling all the factors that determine why we choose one food over another, making nutrition information easy to grasp, ridding the market of bogus green claims, etc. This is what the Farm to Fork provides for.”

Although not binding, the Parliament’s position sets high expectations towards future legislative proposals to implement the Farm to Fork Strategy and gives the European Commission a strong mandate to roll out its plans towards a sustainable food system.

More information:

1 The resolution was adopted with 452 votes in favour, 170 against and 76 abstentions.
2 Voting in plenary, EU lawmakers endorsed the that went through at Committee level without any cuts, yet passed an amendment introducing a recital calling for robust ex-ante evaluations of the impacts of any future law proposals. For our take on recent unfounded attacks on the Farm to Fork Strategy, see .