On Thursday 22nd May, residents across Europe will be casting their votes in the upcoming European elections. The successfully elected candidates will represent us in the European Parliament for the next five years, so it’s important to raise our concerns for a good, clean and fair food policy.

Slow Food want to ensure that all candidates make a commitment to the issues that matter to them, such as food waste, GMOs, animal welfare and the right to food, which is why they have released an open letter to all European candidates. So that the letter reaches as many MEPs as possible, Slow Food are asking you to send it to your regional MEP candidate. Find your regional candidate here and make your voice heard!

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

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, as a Slow Food member, I want 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:

Right to food

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

Support for small-scale producers

  • 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 standardised bureaucratic and hygiene regulations that do not differentiate between agroindustry and small-scale artisanal production

Consumer information

  • 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

Food waste

  • 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)

Seeds

  • 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

GMOs

  • 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

Pesticides

  • 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

Animal welfare

  • 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 europe@slowfood.org.uk

Slow Food UK Board

Slow Food International Executive Committee

For further information: www.slowfood.com/sloweurope/

Or contact our national representatives:

Craig Sams, Chair of Slow Food UK, c.sams@slowfood.org.uk

Shane Holland, representative for Slow Food England, s.holland@slowfood.org.uk

Margaret Rees, representative for Slow Food Wales, m.rees@slowfood.org.uk 

John Cooke, representative for Slow Food Scotland, j.cooke@slowfood.org.uk

  • Slow Food involves millions of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food. This includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, experts and academics in over 150 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide (known as convivia), contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organise; and 2,000 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world

Slow Food believes that new European policies should be founded on the values of biodiversity protection, sustainability, natural resource conservation and inclusive development. Slow Food wants to see Europe embrace an agri-food system that is more sensitive to local products, the cultures of its territories and community needs, and is actively promoting this approach in the current debates on the future of Europe’s food.

Feature image by Steph French

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