Sustainability and Health


Europeans benefit from some of the highest rated food safety standards in the world, and the EU is therefore considered a role-model to be followed by other countries around the world. Underpinned by thorough scientific research and supported by risk assessments, the EU food safety policy safeguards health along the agri-food-chain.

A body of legislation marks the cornerstone of the “from farm to fork” concept, and as a result Europeans can enjoy safe and nutritious food produced from healthy plants and animals, whilst enabling the food industry, Europe’s largest manufacturing and employment sector, to operate under the best possible conditions. This includes protecting the health of humans, animals and plants at every stage of the food production process as a paramount public health and economic priority.

Thanks to EU food safety rules, costly food crises and food fraud scandals have been avoided or mitigated, saving lives and jobs. Ethical concerns are also integrated by promoting animal welfare standards and reducing food waste along the food production chain. The EU is also working to address health risk factors such as harmful use of alcohol, tobacco use, unhealthy dietary habits and physical inactivity, taking into account the need to reduce health inequalities across the EU, to encourage innovation in health and to increase the sustainability of health systems.

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With global demand for food rapidly increasing, it is becoming increasingly important to produce food in a sustainable way whilst reducing waste, to make the most of our resources and mitigate the impacts of climate change and pollution on our planet, safeguarding resources for future generations.

The EU is dedicated to promoting a resourceful and sustainable European role-model. For instance, the EU is currently working on the Circular Economy package: a legislative proposal aiming to modernise waste policy and targets, set a resource-efficiency target, unlock investment and promote innovation. The EU plays an additional key role in addressing climate change through actions integrated into all major EU spending programmes, in particular cohesion policy, regional development, energy, transport, research and innovation and the Common Agricultural Policy.

Several EU initiatives also encourage European citizens to act responsibly and work towards a more sustainable future. An example of this is shown through the Inseparable campaign, in which the EU aims to make it easier to provide smarter choices when it comes to selecting sustainable fish from non-exploited fishing stocks.

The European Union plays an active and constructive role regarding international goals, providing economic development with both social and environmental sustainability, whilst respecting planetary boundaries and protecting the climate; working toward giving all people a fairer share of global wealth.


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The Common Agricultural Policy

Agriculture is at the heart of our lives. Much of what we consume and use every day comes from a farm; our milk, bread, meat, vegetables and wine, clothing and flowers. Farmers play a unique role producing high quality, safe food. But we also expect them to look after the natural landscape, help tackle climate change and preserve agricultural diversity.

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was created to help Europe’s farmers deliver and maintain these public benefits.

The EU’s 500 million consumers all depend upon a reliable supply of healthy, nutritious food at an affordable price. But farming is not just about quantity, the CAP promotes diversity and quality, respecting the wide variety of Europe’s agricultural traditions.

The new CAP focuses on helping farmers across the EU keep the countryside alive. It stimulates employment, entrepreneurship and local food supply, supporting rural business with funding. It also helps farmers to modernise their farms, encouraging investing beyond food production. Therefore the CAP is essential to protecting the future of farming and rural life in Europe.

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