Why “Safe Food Advocacy Europe” ?

In a lifetime, an average 80-years-old consumer ingests 30 to 60 tons of food. Thus, we cannot deny the dominant effect of nutrition on our health and well-being. Several reputable scientific studies underline how the large-scale industrialisation of food and industrial agriculture are among the main causes of the increase of certain diseases, such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer, and many more. What we eat, how we consume it, and how it has been produced, all directly impact our body and mind.

In order to deal with these issues, the EU has created the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), an independent public agency that provides scientific advice and technical support for EU legislation in all fields that have a direct or indirect impact on food and feed safety. Unfortunately, partly due to lack of research funding throughout the EU, EFSA's work often relies on external research and information, not always independent from the economic interests of major agro-food businesses manufacturing the substances EFSA is in charge of controlling.

Moreover, one of the most influential factors on the EU's legislation alongside scientific advice is lobbying [1]. Indeed, the large majority of EU legislation is influenced by lobbyists. And, while there are more than 30.000 lobbyists in Brussels, 70% of them working for businesses, only 10% work for NGOs such as Greenpeace. Apart from consumer protection organisations, independent organisations in the food sector are particularly hard to find.

Those are the questions to which every EU consumer has a right to receive a clear and honest answer supported by proper and reputable research. Unfortunately, the level of information the average consumer receives on food labellingofteninsufficiently details the nature of the product’s contents and the potential risks associated with its consumption. Consumers should however be confident that what they are buying is safe, they have to know exactly what the food products contain.

These important peculiarities in the EU food safety system all underline the need for an independent organisation working to ensure that consumers’ health and concerns stay at the core of EU food legislation. For all these reasons, in January 2015, the association “SAFE – Safe Food Advocacy Europe” was founded in Brussels. On SAFE’s website you will find out more about our mission and priorities, activities, Members and latest news.

Click here to read the Statutes of SAFE (in French).

[1] Read here an interesting article in “The Guardian” about the armada of lobbyists in Brussels and their influencing power.