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Slow Food's letter to the candidates of the 2014 European election: Looking Towards a Common Sustainable Food Policy

Belgium - 12/05/2014

Dear Candidates,

The upcoming European elections come at a crucial time in terms of planning for our future. The current crisis is not simply financial, but far more complex. It begs for a paradigm shift, one that must start with restoring the centrality and value of food.

In order to respond to this crisis, Slow Food wants to see a Common Sustainable Food Policy in Europe. This policy must:

-  take a holistic approach to the food system

-  strive for a transition towards a system of production, distribution and consumption of food that is good (reflecting health, culture and the tastes of local communities), clean (respectful of the environment) and fair (mindful of the rights of those who cultivate, raise and produce food products, as well as of those who purchase and consume)

-  be based on the preservation of biodiversity (plant varieties, native livestock breeds, artisan foods) and on the role of small-scale producers and consumers

-  put in practice these same principles in all negotiations and relations with other countries (e.g. TTIP)

Slow Food asks you to promote a Common Sustainable Food Policy by making a concrete commitment to the following themes:


• Secure fair access to sustainably produced and healthy food for all, in particular vulnerable groups.


Simplify EU hygiene rules and apply exemptions, in order to safeguard and promote small-scale traditional products that are marketed locally or sold directly. These products risk extinction due to standardized bureaucratic and hygiene regulations that do not differentiate between agroindustry and small-scale artisanal production.


• Promote mandatory origin labelling for all unprocessed meat and other products like milk, unprocessed foods and meat used as an ingredient

• Allow the addition of the following information to what is legally required on labels: varieties and animal breeds, cultivation and processing techniques, characteristics of the environment and local area, animal welfare.


• Promote policies that tackle food waste, by raising awareness of the value of food in all phases of the food supply chain (production, distribution, and consumption)


• Guarantee the right (and the duty) of farmers to produce seeds, to certify the seeds themselves (guaranteeing traceability and attesting to their health) and to sell them

• Encourage the registration of native varieties in public catalogues, as a means to culturally and commercially safeguard seeds, and thus biodiversity as a whole

• Guarantee the free exchange of seeds


• Promote the ban on the cultivation of any GMO crops in Europe

• Encourage the use of GMO-free food and animal feed

• Reinforce the risk assessment of GMOs and ensure its transparency


Limit pesticide use as much as possible

• Encourage agricultural management systems (e.g. organic agriculture and agroecology) based on crop rotation, crop diversification, and the protection of beneficial insects that protect biodiversity


• Introduce a maximum travel time from farm to abattoir

• Drastically reduce the use of antibiotics in breeding and rearing

• Prohibit the sale of meat from cloned animals or their offspring


If you are willing to commit to a Common Sustainable Food Policy based on these measures, please contact us at


Slow Food Executive Committee




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