New €170m food promotion policy aims to boost sustainable production and cut emissions
The EU's new food promotion policy for 2022 has labelled red meat a cancer risk and says food promotions in the EU should encourage a shift to a more plant-based diet.
In its communication on the new policy, which sets out the rules for a fund worth over €170m, the EU said it would significantly contribute to the objective of increasing sustainable production and consumption of agricultural products.
It said even though the EU’s transition to sustainable food systems has started in many areas, food systems remain one of the key drivers of climate change and environmental degradation.
"There is an urgent need to reduce dependency on pesticides and antimicrobials, minimise fertilisation and water pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or enhance carbon removals, enhance organic farming and other sustainable practices such as precision farming, improve animal welfare, reverse biodiversity loss, facilitate transition to sustainable food consumption and citizen’s shift to healthy diets," it said.
The policy sets out that organisations seeking funding to promote food products in the EU market should aline with the objectives of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, in particular encouraging the shift to a more plant-based diet, with less red and processed meat and other foods linked to cancer risks (e.g. alcoholic drinks).
Last month, Bord Bia announced that it had won the contract to promote EU food across Asia, Europe and the US in three campaigns valued at €13.4m for the next three years. This comprises €9.7m in EU funding and €3.7m from Bord Bia and industry funding.
Notably, beef, lamb, dairy promotions will take place outside the EU, while the largest funding allocation is for fruit and vegetable promotion in Ireland and France.
Welcoming the funding, Tara McCarthy, Bord Bia Chief Executive, said a key element in securing this funding is how Bord Bia’s new three-year strategy aligns so closely with the EU’s farm to fork strategy.
"It allows us to focus on linking sustainable production with sustainable nutrition and consumption. This campaign affords us the opportunity to deploy each of these to the benefit of Irish and EU producers.”
The EU's decision to discourage the consumption on meat comes as efforts continue to achieving PGI status for Irish Grass Fed Beef.