World Health Day: Last Chance for EU Commission to Lead the EU Towards a Healthy Food System

07 Apr 2023 | English

On World Health Day, Slow Food sent a letter to European Commissioners Stella Kyriakides (DG SANTE), Janusz Wojciechowski (DG AGRI), and Virginijus Sinkevičius (DG EENVI) to call on them to push forward ambitious food policies to address the many food-related health crises Europe is facing today.

For Slow Food, only food systems, foods and diets that are equally healthy for people and the planet can contribute to fair, long-term health. We call for more urgent decisive action to transform our European food systems in our new paper Our Food, Our Health: A Healthy Food System for the European Union in which we share our vision and recommendations.

Marta Messa, Secretary General of Slow Food comments: “We cannot continue ignoring the devastating effects industrial food systems are having on the health of the planet, people, and animals. On this World Health Day, we remind our European leaders they have little time to act to set in motion a transition to agroecology and healthy diets. There are concrete opportunities over the next months to set the stage for this transition: they cannot be missed”.

In the coming months, several critical food policy files will be proposed and discussed which will have important implications for the health of citizens in Europe and abroad, of the planet and of animals: the Sustainable Food Systems Legislative Frameworkthe revision of the Animal Welfare legislation, the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation, and the proposal to deregulate New Genomic Techniques.

Together, these four policies represent the last opportunities for this Commission to set a clear path for the transition to locally grounded, diversified agroecological food systems that provide healthy food for all and to reverse the alarming rise of diet-related illnesses, whilst also protecting climate and the environment and respecting animals. Looking beyond the EU election calendar, it is urgent to act swiftly for a transition.

Unhealthy diets are driven by unsustainable industrial production systems that produce standardized and nutrient-poor foods and food environments that continue to make unhealthy foods more available, accessible, attractive, and affordable than healthy ones.

In our paper, we define a healthy diet as one that promotes human health and respects that of the planet, favoring a wide variety of foods of plant origin, whole foods, and minimally processed foods, produced locally using sustainable methods, in line with the One Health approach. We also address, among other things, the state of our global food systems, and outline our recommendations for a holistic European food strategy.

The One Health approach underpins Slow Food’s work and should be integrated into all food policies. This means that regulatory action must be taken to improve food environments, with policies to boost the production of safe and healthy food and its availability in public canteens, support the development of short supply chains, ensure labeling and advertisements promote healthy food options and make healthy and sustainable diets affordable to all.


Slow Food International Press Office
Alessia Pautasso – [email protected] (+39) 342 8641029
Paola Nano – [email protected] (+39) 329 8321285
Slow Food Europe Press Office
Alice Poiron – [email protected] (+32) 4 73 77 07 39

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