null European Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy on sustainable food systems

Uutinen – Kansainvälinen toiminta

European Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy on sustainable food systems

19.3.2020

MTK warmly welcomes the idea of European Green Deal and Farm to Fork and better agricultural standards. F2F approach has already for a long time been the cornerstone of promoting sustainability in the food chain in Finland. MTK feels this is a valuable opportunity to continue that work throughout the whole EU.

The main principle should be to raise the general awareness and improve the baseline and create a level playing field for sustainable food production. This includes also improving the profitability of agriculture and improve the standard of living for farmers. Farmers need to be part of the process and their work has to be recognized. Only this way, can farming attracts young farmers, new investments and innovations. The F2F strategy for sustainable food must take into account all three pillars of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) in this broader discussion. This is the only way to recognize the contribution of agriculture and of rural areas to food production.

It is of utmost importance that work already done in MS to fulfill the goals of the F2F are fully recognized and MS are treated equally. It would be unfair and completely unacceptable to demand e.g. the same kind of reduction -% of antimicrobial substances, fertilizers or pesticides in a country as Finland, that has among the lowest usage in the world, as in the EU in general.

European production standards must be respected when it comes to trade and imports from third countries. Imported food that does not comply with relevant EU environmental standards should not be allowed on EU markets in order to maintain a level playing field.

Farmers may have recourse to pesticides to grow healthy crops on competitive terms, provide safe food, feed and non food agricultural products, safeguard the environment and ensure that consumer demands are met at the same time. Research and innovation must aim to find new tools and practice to find alternative and sustainable pest management solutions. We cannot have food security without food safety.

Concerning fertilizer the aim should be to fertilise crops as accurately as possible. Instead of looking at the amount of fertilizers, focus should be on the efficiency of fertilizing. The nitrate directive should be implemented similarly in the whole EU, before introducing new restrictions.  

It is clear that a “One Health" approach is important for all health stakeholders in the EU and everyone must play their role in controlling and reducing antimicrobial resistance in Europe. In Finland we have shown, that the use of medicines can be dramatically reduced by better management. This means simply that the health of production animals has to be taken care of in a more ambitious way in EU member states. Biosecurity on farms – both internal and external – should be better to take care of health of the animals.  

The same principle applies for animal welfare. Animal welfare is part of good animal health and promotes food safety issues as well. Fully implementation of existing EU directives should be the basis of promoting better welfare.

Concerning labeling MTK welcomes the Commission’s intention to explore new ways to give consumers better information on food. In Finland, origin labelling of meat and dairy has been developed in recent years. In our opinion, the regulative frame should be extended to include the origin of all main ingredients in retails, restaurants and public food service, in order to be as transparent as possible to the customers. The harmonization of animal welfare labels, at leaston a minimum level, is important for better consumer information. At present, consumers might get disinformation if national legislation is stricter than the requirements of an animal welfare label.

We think that the consumers always have the right to know where and how the food is produced regardless where the food is bought or consumed.

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aiheet: eu, green deal, farm to fork