In 2016, SAFE continued its monitoring of various sensible food safety issues, such as the glyphosate’s authorisation renewal case, the organic legislation revision, trans fatty acids, or the potential impacts of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on European agriculture and food. SAFE therefore regularly attends European Parliament Committee meetings (ENVI and AGRI), as well as workshops and conferences in Brussels. Moreover, SAFE’s involvement in the European Commission DG SANTE’s Advisory Group for the Food Chain and Animal and Plant Health constitutes an important opportunity to monitor and have an impact on EU food legislation developments.
For its second year of existence, SAFE has significantly increased its lobbying efforts amongst the EU arena. Experience gathered during its first year indeed clearly showed the importance and necessity of improving consumers’ representation throughout the EU decision-making.
With the support of our members, we hope to continue growing in size and scope in 2016 to achieve our vision and goals on consumer protection and food in the European Union.
SAFE Flashes & Newsletters
SAFE produces these publications to keep members up-to-date with our lobbying activities, the latest news on EU food legislation developments, upcoming events as well as EU funding programs that SAFE and our members could apply for in support of projects that promote food safety, environmental protection and sustainable initiatives. As of March, our monthly newsletter became bimonthly, as well as our SAFE flash.
The Vegan & Vegetarian Working group met again in Brussels in March. Members notably elaborated the details of their political strategy, aimed at promoting a European vegan and vegetarian legislation. Members of the working group will meet again in September at the Veganfest in Bologna.
SAFE’s team will soon launch a new working group: the Sugar Awareness Working Group. The working group will have two main goals: improving EU legislation, and raise public awareness, especially among children and teenagers, on the high prevalence of sugar in processed food and our daily diets, as well as its detrimental effects on health and public spending.
The first objective will require improvements in the Food Information to Consumers Regulation, in order to make the amount of sugar easily legible on the packaging of processed food. It will also involve the implementation of a new legislation, noticeably in the form of a maximum threshold for sugar contained in food and drinks in bars and restaurants. SAFE will organize trainings in schools and universities, starting in Belgium, to inform about recommended sugar daily doses and the consequences of overconsumption.
SAFE conference 2016
SAFE launched this year its first event aimed at consumer information. On the 9th of June, SAFE’s team organized in its Brussels office a conference called “Better information for European consumers on food safety”, which gathered four experts in the field of food and nutrition, in order to raise awareness on some of the EU’s industrialised food system’s impacts on consumers’ health and the environment. The event, aimed at consumers, mobilised a varied crowd: NGO workers, representatives of the food industry and of some EU institutions, as well as students and citizens.
First to speak, nutritionist and psychologist Kathrin Wendel explained how to read food labelling. After giving clarifications on the meaning of label terms used to describe food additives and ingredients, she detailed some of the loopholes in the EU’s labelling rules that allow producers to avoid naming clearly certain ingredients and additives known as particularly detrimental to health.
Then, registered nutritionist Kawther Hashem, from NGO Action on Sugar, discussed the prevalence of sugar in our daily dietary habits and its effects on health. She noticeably detailed her NGO’s work alongside the UK government, which pushed several industrial producers in the UK to diminish the amount of sugar contained in their products.
Finally, Elodie d’Halluweyn and Fabrice Derzelle, Vegetik, reviewed the health and environmental impacts of meat overconsumption and industrial production. Claiming the meat industry to be one of the most harmful to the environment and important contributors to climate change, they made the case for switching towards a diet less reliant on meat and diary products.