EU Fails to Deliver on Food System Transformation in Face of Environmental Collapse

Jeroen Candel, Wageningen University

The European Union’s ambitious Farm to Fork strategy, aimed at transforming our food system for a sustainable future, is facing significant challenges and setbacks. Despite promising goals to reduce pesticide use, promote organic farming, and enhance animal welfare, the strategy has fallen short due to several key reasons.

Firstly, the revision of animal welfare laws was weakened, compromising efforts to improve conditions for farm animals. Livestock farming, a major contributor to climate change, was largely ignored in the EU’s 2040 climate goals, undermining efforts to reduce emissions from agriculture.

Additionally, the EU Commission withdrew a proposed regulation on pesticides, further hindering progress towards safer farming practices. Similarly, member states shelved a law focused on restoring and protecting nature, neglecting crucial conservation efforts.

These failures highlight the complex challenges facing food system transformation. Political resistance, concerns over economic impacts, and industry influence have all played roles in stalling critical reforms. Without robust policies that prioritize sustainability and public health, the EU risks exacerbating environmental crises and compromising food security. Moving forward, citizen engagement and advocacy will be crucial in pushing for stronger, more effective policies that truly transform our food system for the better.

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