by Marion Nestle
Feb 15 2019

Weekend reading: A common food policy for the European Union

The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) has put together a thoughtful, detailed blueprint for creating a food policy that unites and integrates agriculture and health policies.  This report is a model for what we should and can do in the United States.

What is this about?

A Common Food Policy is needed to put an end to conflicting objectives and costly inefficiencies. The policies affecting food systems in Europe – agriculture, trade, food safety, environment, development, research, education, fiscal and social policies, market regulation, competition, and many others – have developed in an ad hoc fashion over many years. As a result, objectives and policy tools have multiplied in confusing and inefficient ways. Gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions between policies are the rule, not the exception. Ambitious anti-obesity strategies coexist with agri-trade policies that make junk food cheap and abundant…

Its point?

A Common Food Policy would put an end to these costly inefficiencies by changing the way that policies are made: it would be designed to bring different policies into coherence, establish common objectives, and avoid trade-offs and hidden costs (or ‘externalities’). In other words, it would bring major benefits to people and the planet, and would ultimately pay for itself.