The ’LiveWell for low impact food in Europe (LIFE)’ project was launched in Brussels with a policy debate with stakeholders. The project intends to tackle two of the big challenges facing modern society - rising levels of chronic diseases and climate change – and looks for solutions that will tackle both simultaneously. But how adequately will it address the needs of the most vulnerable groups in our societies - the poor, children or experiencing inequalities, and especially under current economic crisis?
It is estimated that the food sector accounts for about 30% of energy consumption and over 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.
Our ‘Western’ diet - characterised as being high in meat, dairy and processed food - through the process of thier production significantly adds to these worrysome numbers. And with the average European citizen eating almost 3,500 calories daily – 1,000 calories more than recommended – the rising epidemic of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardio-vascular disease, the system proves to be broken. Against this background, LiveWell for Low Impact Food in Europe (LIFE) aims to address the concept of a healthy and sustainable diet; a diet which can bring significant health benefits to EU citizens and contribute towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the EU food supply chain.
At the launch event, EPHA and EPHAC representative brought attention to the fact that as food is one of the most pressing issues in the public policy sphere, and as such food production and consumption patterns are absolutely critical for any meaningful debate on growing demand for food, socio-economic integration as well as sufficiency vs. accessibility discourse. However, dealing with food-related issues cannot be pushed primarily on the consumers and cannot be claimed that "consumers are indifferent about their own health" (DG Environment), policies, producers and retailers have even greater responsibility in tackling the problem. We raised a question of applicability of the project to a current European situation where almost 25% of EU citizens live in poverty or social exclusion, and can therefore hardly afford an adequate, sustainable and healthy diet.
In regards to the matter of food production and consumption, it was learnt that the European Commission’s DG Environment is to prepare a communication on Sustainable Food in the course of 2013.
More information: Live Well for Low Impact Food in Europe
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