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Policy developments on labelling for a more sustainable food system

European Union

Oct 30, 2023

Governments across Europe are developing policies which promote healthier, more sustainable food choices. This presentation explores these policies with a focus on the EU. In May 2020, the European Commission published its Farm to Fork Strategy which acknowledged the inextricable links between healthy people, healthy societies and a healthy planet. This committed to introduce legislative proposals to revise rules on food labelling for consumers. On the one hand, focusing on health, the Commission committed to introduce harmonised front-of-pack nutrition labelling, nutrient profiling criteria to restrict claims made on foods, extending mandatory origin or provenance information for certain products, and revise the rules on ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates by 2022. These commitments were reinforced by Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, which further committed to introduce mandatory ingredients list and nutrition declaration as well as warnings for alcoholic beverages by 2023. On the other hand, the Commission also committed to introduce a Sustainability Labelling Framework to empower consumers to make informed and sustainable food choices by the end of 2024. In synergy with other labelling initiatives - such as animal welfare labelling, ‘green claims’ organic labelling and those described above - it is meant to cover the provision of consumer information relating to the nutritional, climate, environmental and social aspects of food products. The Commission has already missed its 2022 deadlines and all suggestions point to it missing its 2023 and 2024 deadlines. This presentation will summarise the development so far, suggest how the EU should move forward and highlight barriers to implementation. Discussions on how to move forward will be held with the audience.


Author(s):  Gokani, N.

Published in: European Journal of Public Health

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