EU ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy to cut use of pesticides, fertiliser and antibiotics

A new food strategy from the EU will reduce the use of pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics as part of the recently announced European Green Deal.

The ‘Farm to Fork Strategy for Sustainable Food’ is described as being a ‘key component’ of the green deal.

According to the commission, it is hoped that the strategy will “strengthen [farmers’] efforts to tackle climate change, protect the environment and preserve biodiversity”.

Among the main points of the strategy is increasing the “level of ambition” to significantly reduce the “use and risk of chemical pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics”.

The commission says that it will identify measures needed to bring about these reductions, based on stakeholder dialogue.

Improving information for consumers about food is also cited as a goal of the strategy. This information will include the origin of agri-food produce, as well as its nutritional information and its environmental footprint. This will be achieved through “clear labeling and accessible information”.

It has also been stated, in a document explaining the strategy that was issued in December, that “imported food products from third countries must comply with the EU’s environmental standards”.

Another primary aim of the strategy will be to achieve a “circular economy” – in which the environmental impact of the food processing and retail sectors is reduced by taking action on transport, storage, packing and food waste.

Animal welfare will also form part of the strategy, as well as “food fraud”.

The five key points of the ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy are summarised as:

  • Making sure Europeans get affordable and sustainable food;
  • Tackling climate change;
  • Protecting the environment;
  • Preserving biodiversity;
  • Increasing organic farming.

According to Stella Kyriakidou, the European Commissioner for Health, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be “an important tool to help achieve these targets”.

It is envisaged that 40% of the next CAP budget (2021-2027) will be devoted to climate change action.

The strategy is set to be formally put forward sometime during spring this year.