The Malta Business Bureau and the European Commission Representation in Malta hosted a webinar on the Commission’s ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy. This is at the heart of the EU Green Deal, which sets out the path to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by the year 2050. The Farm to Fork strategy aims to make EU food systems fairer, healthier, and more environmentally friendly.
The opening address was delivered by MBB President Simon De Cesare, who welcomed the objectives of the strategy, but stressed that it should not lead to excessive obligations on businesses. Stephanie Bodenbach, Head of Sector at DG Sante within the European Commission also addressed the webinar. Ms Bodenbach introduced the main objectives of the strategy and discussed what it would mean for businesses operating in the EU food system.
Some of the main issues identified within the strategy include mitigating the environmental impact of food production, reducing packaging and food waste levels, and improving consumer knowledge on nutritional information. This is expected to culminate in proposals and policy revisions concerning nutrient levels, labelling, and food waste reduction targets, amongst others.
The European business perspective was considered through interventions by Hotrec Public Affairs Manager Marta Machado and FoodDrinkEurope Deputy Director General Dirk Jacobs. Some of the concerns raised include avoiding binding targets on EU member states as this would penalize already well-performing businesses, avoiding nutrition labelling in restaurants, as well as other bureaucratic requirements such as origin indications. Finally, the discussion was opened to the audience to gather their reactions to the strategy and questions for the speakers.
The principles of the Farm to Fork strategy are grounded in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the EU’s own commitment towards fostering a just transition towards a climate-neutral economy. This strategy is also being framed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlights the increasing importance of robust and resilient food systems which can offer a secure supply of food at an affordable price for consumers.