The European Commission has launched a consultation on a contingency plan to ensure food supply and food security across the EU in times of crisis.

A diversity of stakeholders involved in the food supply chain such as producers, processors, distributors or transport operators as well as consumers, civil society and national authorities are invited to provide their views for a period of eight weeks, from today (March 1) to May 3.

Announced in the Farm to Fork strategy, the commission aims to step up the coordination of the European response to crises affecting the EU’s food system and to ensure food security.

According to the commission, to do this, the contingency plan will include a set of procedures to be followed in times of crises, as well as the setting up of a food crisis response mechanism coordinated by the commission, involving member states and, possibly, various sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, transport and health.

The mechanism will take the form of a permanent forum to coordinate action, exchange best practices and evaluate threats and risks.

In line with the Farm to Fork strategy and its objectives, the plan would pursue increased environmental, economic and social sustainability for a resilient EU food system, the commission adds.

Why is the commission developing this plan?

“Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the EU agri-food sector faced various challenges such as rapid changes of demand, closures of borders and shortages of seasonal workers,” the commission said.

The EU’s food supply chain showed its resilience in these unprecedented times.

“Still, this crisis has highlighted how food security cannot be taken for granted. The contingency plan aims at ensuring better preparedness and coordination for future potential crises that could threaten food security at EU level.”