Say Goodbye to Toxics! – The new Slow Food campaign for a pesticide free Europe  

07 Jun 2023

Safe food should always be the easy choice. Yet, everyone is exposed to varying degrees of pesticide residues through food and water, with direct adverse effects on health. Slow Food marks today’s World Food Safety Day by launching Say Goodbye to Toxics!, a European-wide online campaign, in collaboration with other organizations, to involve citizens and put pressure on political stakeholders – at national and EU level. 

“In 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a new regulation on the sustainable use of pesticides (SUR), which aims to cut the use of pesticides in the EU by 50% by 2030 to protect nature, pollinators and people”, explains Madeleine Coste, Slow Food Advocacy Director. “This proposal has been met with fierce resistance from the agroindustry and their allies, defying the scientific consensus on the need to transform our current food system in order to safeguard food security in the long run. It is absolutely urgent for EU citizens to mobilize and once again remind decision makers of their responsibility to drive a transition to healthy sustainable food.” 

The concept is simple:  Slow Food provides an online widget via which European citizens can easily send direct personalized emails to Members of the European Parliament and national Ministers, in order to remind them that the future of young generations and biodiversity cannot be ensured without pesticide reduction. “The EU pesticide regulation is a crucial step in obtaining significant pesticide use reduction. Decision makers across Europe are discussing this new law as we speak, and many of them are trying to derail it. They will come to a final decision within the next months, and your voice is crucial in helping push for an ambitious EU Pesticide Law”, Coste adds.  

Agrochemicals are killing pollinators including bees, and destroying biodiversity, which poses a serious risk for natural ecosystems and long-term food security. Furthermore, farmers and rural inhabitants end up suffering from direct adverse health effects caused by the exposure to pesticides, such as chronic diseases or cancer. “With this campaign, Slow Food encourages citizens to take an active part in policymaking and to call on their politicians to support strong and ambitious pesticide phase out plans: for the bees and other pollinators, for long-term food security, and for our farmers and society at large”, comments Marta Messa, Slow Food Secretary General.  

 

The transition towards pesticide-free agriculture can only be fostered by action, not wishful thinking: Member States must provide support to farmers via advisory services to increase the application of non-chemical alternatives to pesticides, with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) being the base of any food production system (agronomic measures, and mechanical, physical, biological control), as part of an integral strategy moving towards sustainable agroecological food production systems.  And for all this to happen smoothly, subsidies in agriculture should be linked to IPM and measurable pesticide use reduction.  

 

Take part in the campaign

And follow it on social media:  

IG: slowfood_international 

Twitter: @SlowFoodEurope and @SlowFoodPress 

Facebook: slowfoodinternational 

Official hashtag: #PesticideFreeEU 

 

A BIT OF CONTEXT 

The EU Commission has formally answered to the Save Bees and Farmers European Citizens Initiative supported by 1,1 million EU citizens. In their response, it  shares our concerns about health, water, soil, food production and biodiversity. It will not introduce new regulations but call for a fast and ambitious adaptation of the proposal for a pesticide regulation (SUR) and Nature Restoration Law. These have been met with fierce resistance from agroindustry and their allies in EU and Member States. It is now first up to the Members of European Parliament to form their positions on the new law and agree on the final legislation. Next, it will be discussed in national parliaments and the EU Council. The Save Bees and Farmers ECI campaign is not over: we will continue to  actively involve citizens in this fight! With the launch of this tool, we want to give citizens the chance to be actively involved in the process at every stage and to put extra pressure on their decision makers. 

Currently, the European Parliament and the Council are having internal discussions to find a position to take to the negotiation table in November, where they will have to reach an agreement. 

On the European Parliament side, the Committee on Agriculture will vote on its opinion in July, followed by the vote in the Committee on Environment in September. As a  result, there will be a Plenary vote in October that will determine the Parliament position on the issue. The next  months ahead of these important votes are key opportunities to make citizens’ voices heard on a regulation that will directly impact them and their environment. 

Meanwhile, in the Council of the EU, Ministers are having different discussions to reach a compromise soon. However, it is not looking good: According to the latest news, they are trying to make the national reduction targets non binding and loosen the requirements on Integrated Pest Management. It is extremely necessary that citizens also reach their national representatives to demand them not to water down this legislation. 

 

Click here to check Slow Food Frequently Asked Questions:  

 

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