How can Europeans be encouraged to eat more sustainably? The food we eat has a massive impact on our health, but also the environment. In Europe alone, it’s estimated that half the population is obese or overweight and food accounts for almost a third of all consumption-derived greenhouse gas emissions. In some EU countries, more than 40% of produced food is being thrown away and wasted.

Over the coming weeks, Debating Europe – in partnership with LiveWell for LIFE – will be looking at sustainable consumption, including how eating habits can have an impact on health, food security and the environment. Don’t forget to send us YOUR questions and comments in the form below, and we’ll add them to the debate. We’ll be kicking things off today by looking at the impact food choices can have on public health and the environment.

Let’s start with a comment from Becky, who says:

I don’t want to pressure people into becoming vegetarian, but by just REDUCING meat consumption by even a quarter we would do the entire planet a gigantic favour.

What would be the environmental impact of Europeans eating less meat? According to a new UN report, carbon emissions from agriculture could be slashed by up to 40%, air and water pollution levels could be cut, and cholesterol problems and obesity would be reduced if Europeans cut their meat and dairy consumption by half.

We recently spoke to Roberto Bertollini, Chief Scientist and World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to the EU. How would he respond to Becky’s suggestion?

We also spoke to Sue Dibb, Co-ordinator of the Eating Better project, a campaign which aims to encourage people to move towards eating less meat and more environmentally sustainable diets. Why does she want to see people eating less meat?

Finally, we spoke to Ladislav Miko, Deputy Director General for the Food Chain at the European Commission. He agreed that eating less meat carried benefits for both public health and the environment, but he cautioned that policy-makers had to be realistic about what can be achieved:

How can policy-makers influence consumers to eat more sustainably? We had a comment sent in from Cris  who thought the solution was higher taxes for junk food, sweets, and high fat foods, and lower prices for fruits and vegetables. What would our experts think?

First, we put Cris’ comment to Roberto Bertollini from the World Health Organization:

Next, we put the same question to Sue Dibb from Eating Better:

Finally, we asked Ladislav Miko from the European Commission to respond:

How do YOU think Europeans can be encouraged to eat more sustainably? Should policy-makers encourage people to eat less meat? Should unhealthy food cost more and fruits and vegetables be taxed less? And what’s the best way to influence consumers to eat healthier food, waste less and buy sustainable produce? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Dave Wild

164 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    How can Europeans be encouraged to eat more sustainably?
    Eating meat is a myth and a cultural thing. Really!

    People simply think they have to eat meat or else their children will be undernourished or weak. And “simba”, the meat eating lion, is the image for real men!

    The facts about proteins (found plentiful in the vegetable world) the medically recommended levels of daily protein intake, the truth about antibiotics used, the facts about the damage to the environment, the cost structure of meat production/consumption in this globalized world, etc, should be taught to everyone. From kindergarten to PhD courses. Not just the nutritionists.

    And this should include “meat” as well as “fish”.

    • avatar

      As to taxation, it should be used as a parallel measure and not “the” measure, and certainly not as a long term measure, which it is not.
      Education and dissemination of well known nutrition information to all citizens is the long term solution.
      Europeans have to be brought into the issues so they can also participate in the solution as citizens, not just as tax payers. Taxes are the “stick”.
      Let the schools teach the benefit of good “less meat” nutrition and let the Europeans benefit being more healthy and having a less polluted environment.
      This would be the “carrot”.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      “Eating meat is a myth and a cultural thing. Really!”

      Erm…. Really not… prehistoric man started eating meat as soon as he learned to kill things, it wasn’t a “myth” and he did it to survive, not for his “culture”

  2. avatar
    Luke Lamb

    Luke Lamb educate them about what really happens if you force products to adapt to human needs rather than the other way round. A prime and simple example would be that as in your picture above cows where eaten seasonally, why? because if you allow the cow to mature in the correct manner it will receive the correct nutrients thus in turn we would benefit. The way in which the advanced population eats is due to forced agricultural techniques. This has had to happen in order for the human race to develop thus far, how ever now that we have a arrived in the future we should be able to manipulate our food sources to give us the greatest benefit rather than just being obese! #clearbluegreen

  3. avatar

    I agree that the key to influence consumers is through education. I think one major problem that consumers face when told to eat less meat is learning about protein substitutions. It is hard for them to envision other healthy and sustainable protein options. And once they know about them, how to actually prepare them. Perhaps, educating the public about the variety of healthy, meat-free protein options could be a way to start.

  4. avatar

    Stop subsidising sugar, fat and meat-related food production. If you want to subsidize green and leafy stuff: great. If you don’t want to: fine. But stop subsidising sugar, fat and meat.

    • avatar

      I would go one step further and tax sugar related products and ‘junk’ food.

  5. avatar
    Luis de Castro

    tthe question itself, shows how ridiculous modern world is, tthat should not even be asked, of course healthy food should be cheaper and produced in bigger quantitys than fast food…. Comone world, wake up…..

  6. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Reduce licenses for fast food chains, and you will see a drop in the meat eating habits of Europeans..we have one fast food in every block in most European cities. But wait. If you restrict the American fast food giants that are everywhere in Europe, uncle Sam won’t like it and he is going to spank the European governments, so that ain’t gonna happen.. Any other suggestions?

  7. avatar
    Alex Bell

    Yes, but local grown should be less taxed than imported from outside of EU and organic taxed less also, regardless if it’s meat or veggies

  8. avatar

    Education is key. The multinationals with their marketing and lobbying also have a lot to answer for. Unlinking food prices from the global commondities market would help; Food prices should not be speculated on. Reduce food waste – the fact that food poverty and food waste co-exist is not acceptable. Food has lost its social context – cooking and sitting together to eat, talk and share; fast food not only lacks good nutrition, but all the other social and learning external benefits are also lost.

  9. avatar

    Who is behind this campaign against meat? And why only meat? What if I decide to keep eating steak and to save the planet I use bycicle instead of car? Come on, stop dictating your vison and let us free to behave responsibly deciding how to contribute to a better planet. Now it’s lunch time, guess what?…I’ll have some meat with some vegetables…this is a balanced diet!

  10. avatar

    Whenever big studies like this are undertaken they inevitably consider the generalised status quo. “Meat eating” encompasses at one end highly intensive CAFO raised beef, with high inputs of grains, antibiotics, and water – cheap mass market food. At the other end we have small farmers raising beef on permanent pasture, with almost no inputs at all (For example, on the South Downs there are ancient turf ecosystems that depend on grazing for their continued existence; whilst Three Harbours Beef raises cattle on salt marshes). Such pasture is compatible with permaculture tree and shrub growing too. Putting aside for one moment arguments about how many people this could feed, imagine if all of the UK consisted of such farms: There would be very high biodiversity, tree and shrub corridors coast to coast, carbon sequestration, no chemical inputs, no need for agricultural machinery, every acre would be accessible to ramblers. Meat and dairy as a staple, fruit and nuts from trees. A kind of sylvo-pastoral Eden! (picture the New Forest as our closest large-scale example)

    Would we really improve such a utopian system by digging up some of the pasture and planting a monoculture of grain? Once you plant arable crops you destroy all the wild plants, vertebrates and invertebrates that lived on it and in it. You release stored carbon into the atmosphere and increase soil erosion. You have to remove trees and shrubs to get farm machinery in. You have to fence the area against deer and ramblers. Eventually you have to use fertiliser as the soil becomes depleted.

    Agricultural crops are the real environmental disaster. Their only ‘benefit’ is high levels of protein per acre, hence they can, theoretically, support a higher population. But why do we set so much store by this measure? Why not ‘biodiversity per unit protein’ which would place extensive animal systems at the top and cereal crops at the bottom?

    Finally, there is the question of whether grains can ever produce optimum human health. With 1 in 10 people now estimated to suffer from gluten related disorders, and with the high glycaemic index and significant anti-nutrients (lectins, phytates, oxalates etc) present in grains we need to question even the claimed health benefits of reducing meat consumption.

    • avatar

      we are clearly geographically in the same area…where are you based, and whats your contact details?

  11. avatar

    It’s a disgrace that in the 21st century, every day foods that have shown to have health benefits appear to be only affordable to the better off in society. The majority of the population are force fed junk from certain high street supermarkets simply because they can’t afford anything else

  12. avatar
    Ana Georgieva

    :D They should be encouraged not to eat at all. All world food should go to USA, they need a lot of food there. And gas and petrol supplies as well, we will walk and work as farmers, its better for the health. ;)

  13. avatar
    Pedro Jesus

    If its fruits and vegs from permaculture or biodynamic farming, yes! They should’nt be taxed. Higher taxes for “junk” food and the prohibition to show publicity during cartoons and primetime. Answer is higher taxes for junk food and profit % for health care like tobacco.

  14. avatar

    EU people simply need to be informed (or inform themselves) a little better and they will make the choices that are right for them. These are some of my personal opinions (and are probably far from perfect) which I believe highlight the difficulties that EU people encounter when trying to “know” what the healthy choices are.
    – vegetable is a healthier source of long term protein than meat. There is no rocket science here. Even cows know that but clear access to this information does not exist.
    – the pretty picture of the cow grazing in the meadows at your local supermarket is a lie. Most EU meat is produced in cages and fed genetically modified maize and soya, of which 75% or so, is imported from the America’s (so much for food security). Cows don’t naturally eat maize and soya, they eat grass. (so much for animal welfare)
    – blaming a cow that humans mass produce for greenhouse problems. Really? Is that how EU people take responsibility for their actions?
    – food tax does nothing except separate the rich from poor. What’s next? Tax good air and bad air.
    – corporate food policy influence in Brussels, skewed food industry sponsored science, food industry and food regulation revolving employment, EFSA’s so called “transparency” policy, and many other government/food industry grey areas totally undermine Europe’s “precautionary system” that we all think works so well. EU’s “High Fructose Corn Syrup food products are healthy for you” is recent testimony. 15 years of HFCS data from the US says otherwise.
    – bee killing chemical manufacturers (Bayer and Syngenta) are presently suing the EU because these chemicals have recently being banned. Why should the EU people be held to ransom for their environment and personal health by these companies?
    – apples don’t shine. It is the wax that they are dipped in that makes them shine. Washing them with water does not remove the wax. Like eating wax with your apple?
    – carrots are originally white, not orange. When last did you see a white carrot in your supermarket? Most of us don’t even know what the food of our forefathers looked like.
    – the nutrient values in many fruits have dropped in the last 50 years. Why? Because to make them “pretty”, they need to be hybridised or GMO’d and the sacrifice for pretty looking fruit is, amongst others, nutrition.
    – heard of the Mediterranean diet? It’s not a diet, it’s a marketing term – people have made fortunes by using this term and selling cook books. How many lives has it saved or prolonged? There is no proof whatsoever that the Mediterranean diet is healthier than any other diet. (If rubbish is repeated enough times, it is eventually deemed as fact). The origination of this term has a great story behind it though!
    Every EU person wants to and believes they are making the right food choices. For example, mainstream meat consumers think that not much has changed in the last hundred years of meat production and meat industry wants the consumer to continually think that way. (hence the picture of the cow happily grazing in the meadows on your local supermarket wall)
    The reality is that meat should cost 10 times more today if it was made the same way as 100 years ago. Once we understand how industry and government have managed to keep meat prices 10 times lower than it should be, then we will understand better and make the right choice to eat meat or not (or a lot less of it). To achieve this 10 times saving, sacrifices have to be made and it is these sacrifices that are making us and our food sick. If you continually insist to buy cheap food, you are fuelling this problem because it is your money that sustains it.
    Hamburgers are perceived as being unhealthy by the health conscious people. If it is made by the likes of Burger King, KFC, McDonalds, etc, you probably have a reason to be concerned. But if a burger is not made with pink slime, sugar, HFCS, canola oil, food enhancers, trans fats, fake salt, hydrogentated raw materials and so on …. should it still deserve its “bad” reputation? Big industry is corrupting our food in a bid to sell it cheap … and we unknowingly support this corruption every time we buy from them.
    Russia has just placed a moratorium on GMO food. Why? Because global science does not and cannot fully understand the full implications of cross geneing proteins in the food chain. If the EU thinks that their food science is right and the Russian food science is wrong, then EU consumers should prepare themselves for more food that is questionable, unsustainable, contaminated and unhealthy for us and our precious environment.
    I need to leave a healthy food environment and knowledge base (and alternative options) for my children, my fellow EU friends, family and citizens. It is really important that EU people educate themselves and get this right.
    Encouraging is a waste of time and money. The hard truth is the answer. Hard choices will reduce our gut line not sitting on the couch pretending there is nothing wrong with the EU food system.
    So … back to the question – Should Europeans be encouraged to eat less meat?
    I don’t think so. We are not the problem, we are the victims – and, yes, we should take some responsibility. We are sick and obese because the foods that we eat are allowed to be sub-standard by our governments and regulators, and, because we are not properly informed.
    Do you really think that by stopping to eat meat tomorrow will solve EU’s food related diseases?
    What about sugar in soft drinks, what about HFCS in almost everything, what about glyphosate on practically everything that grows, what about the BT toxin in Mon810 GM maize that is grown in EU?
    Come on EU … cherry picking is not the answer.
    (I wrote this off the cuff from memory – my figures may not be spot on … apologies)

  15. avatar
    Sky Lise Eva

    Yes if fruits and vegetables are not bombarded with pesticides and dangerous chemical, as it is now the case. I would rather say: bio food should cost less, especially when it is regionally produced.

  16. avatar
    Tessa Avermaete

    I agree, education is the key challenge towards sustainable diets. However, education implies that there is information for teachers to start from. Here, the role of researchers, and more specifically interdisciplinary cooperation between researchers, comes in. Universities should encourage such debate on sustainable diets and formulate a view that teachers in primary and secondary schools can build on.

  17. avatar
    Claire Hoolohan

    Fantastic reference material – thank you!

    Diet is such an important issue. Reducing the amount of meat in our diets is fundamental to addressing climate change, enhancing the security of food supply and improving the health and well-being of consumers.

    I have just written an article on Quorn’s announced investment which highlights the time is now for anyone in a position of influence to take action on sustainable food – there’s lots to be done!

    There are opportunities for retailers, producers and farmers consistent with such transition, for instance increasing the availability of vegetarian foods and making them irresistible to consumers or encouraging a shift from high impact meats (beef and lamb) to lower impact meats (pork and poultry).

    But changes such as these have significant implications for the structure and profile of farming in the UK and there is a need for robust policy and government support for activity which aids such transitions without isolating farming communities.

    If you are interested:

  18. avatar

    Europeans should be encouraged to live healthier in general. Diet is only one part of the issue, exercise is another equally important. The only one who will gain if we do not is the pharmaceutical industry and don’t forget who will be left footing the bill…

  19. avatar
    Caroline Pond

    Yes they should and healthy food should be subsidised by the government as i know to my cost in getting Diabetes

  20. avatar

    By making the vegetables and fruits cheaper :)

  21. avatar

    Compared with others, Europe can produced the finest and the healthier food on the planet, unless you are aiming for special/exotic eatable food. Not to bring in discussion how exquisite and sophisticate europeans can cook. So it’s not my main concern the quality of food that can be produced locally, but the agriculture for profit new trend that swept Europe starting last or two decades ago. The extensive forced hybrids crops that are replacing the natural pace grown ones, pollination with bees inside greenhouses, feeding cattle, piglets and poultry with the wrong type of industrial produced protein (Mad Cow Scandal, ring a bell?) doesn’t look like true alternatives. And one more issue that I would like to say it’s the fact that our metabolism doesn’t react too good at unseasonal type of feeding. Our diet shouldn’t be that radical different as our ancestors used to be.

  22. avatar
    Georges Pfeiffenschneider

    I believe most Europeans would agree that we ought to prefer
    – simple and grown over processed and manufactured foods;
    – locally grown over centrally produced foods;
    – diversified, natural over patented, unified GM foods.
    It is not possible to produce organic food on a scale that could satisfy the whole European market (extensive agriculture); the alternative is a decentralized approach, with villages and cities setting up more and more community gardens planted, tended and reaped by groups of families/citizens (autarchy).
    Moreover, in the larger cities, the EU member states should urgently invest in vertical farming experiments (i.e., agriculture in protected, energetically autonomous ‘towers’ where food can be grown on multiple levels, all year round, close to the consumers, without need for either pesticides or fertilizers – see the work of Dickson Despommier et al.).

    28/05/2018 Marta Messa, EU Liaison Officer for Slow Food, has responded to this comment.

    28/05/2018 Rodrigo De Lapuerta, Director of the Liaison Office with the EU and Belgium at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, has responded to this comment.

  23. avatar
    Andrew Brown

    Here in the UK 70% of the farmed area is only good for grown grass. The best thing to do with that is use a ruminant to convert it into meat based protien we can digest. Extensive sheep and cattle production is totally sustainable, but the demand for ever cheaper food leads to mega farms and massive feed lots as we see in the United States. There is one sure way of stopping this happening in the EU and that is for everyone to pay significantly more for their food and then small producers will be able to carry on extensive production sustainably.

  24. avatar
    Andrew Brown

    Whilst it is a laudable notion to try and eat more sustainably, if each person in China was to eat one more chicken per year that would use up need all the world’s wheat to produce the chickens needed. We are facing the biggest challenge to face humanity and governments throughout the world are not taking this issue seriously enough. I have been speaking for years to different groups telling them that if we are not very careful there will not be enough food in the next 20-40 years, but the short term nature of parliamnetary politics means politicians do not listen and probably do not care.

  25. avatar
    Panagiotis Varagiannis

    when you want to reduce something in order to have beneficial effect to health, you should be ready to increase something else with similar effect . For example, the meat substitutes are a better choise and more ecofriendly taking the place of meat?

  26. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Of course!
    The small farms in industrialized and polluted Europe can never be as efficient as farms in the Americas or Australasia.

    We should entrust our food production to the aforementioned and stop most farming in CAP-dominated Europe.

  27. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    Educação é a chave do sucesso de deixar cair modelo de consumo do Passado e cultivar o futuro da sustentabilidade que é certificar a qualidade e consumir melhor

  28. avatar
    Florence Egal

    Europeans consumers can play a key role (food democracy) in the promotion of sustainable diets, which should not only be seen in terms of environmental impact but also social inclusion and equity (providing and protecting jobs). Environmental impact should include green house gas emissions, contamination of land and water and management of biodiversity. Urban food governance and territorial planning are essential, and European consumers should get organized and engage wherever they live.

  29. avatar

    Yes, and they must be encouraged to choose pasture-raised, high-welfare meat, eggs and dairy products when they do. Cheap meat is killing us – and destroying the planet.

  30. avatar
    Manthos M. and S.Avgoulea-Linardatou Debating Team

    Reducing meat production would make the planet greener. However, less meat means higher meat prices. This means that economically weak families might not be able to afford to buy meat, which by all means is nutritional. So, instead of reducing the production, people should be encouraged not to waste meat. And the remainder could be shared to solve the world’s famine problems.

  31. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    You can not feed 7.125 billion people using sustainable farming, only increasing intensive farming methods will eliminate hunger world wide.

    The concept of sustainable farming is for people with more money than sense to ease their own conscience.

  32. avatar
    Inês Valente

    The growing concern of people on this subject should answer this by itself.
    Of course we have to!! There are a number os ways to be more sustainable. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is ONE possible example, that sheds some light on the subject.

  33. avatar

    Why don’t end subsidies on sugar, fat and meat? Would be easy and healthy.

  34. avatar
    João Machado

    Go vegan. Support organic farmers. Produce your own food (or part of it) right in your balcony or yard. Educate yourself and educate others to the subject. It’s the only way we can get back the lost control over our health and over the food production system from big business.

    • avatar
      Eva Elisabet Haglund

      And how to make it possible for more citizens to produce their own food (or part of it)? That´s my question living in a small town but the lucky owner of a balcony high up meeting the morning sun.

  35. avatar
    Paulo Especial

    BIO Products, specifically those produced in Europe should be incentivated!

    Products not as healthy should be taxed, specially those from outside of Europe, in order that part of that tax can be allocated to the farmers producing BIO Products!

  36. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    First necessity goods should not be taxed at all. Products like fruit, bread, milk, cereal etc. etc. Alcohol, cigarettes and ssimilar hould be highly taxed. Now, about unhealthy food, are we going down the route of Mrs Empress Michelle Obama, who is dictacting to Americans what they can and can not eat?

  37. avatar
    Tony Kunnari

    Through basic income we are able to provide such foundation to each individual that they are able to budget their time and efforts much more smoothly in comparison to the current way of taxation in relation with the environment; landscape + society + productivity + renewability + consumption.

    Through basic income, not only income is the one that comes; tolerance, integrity, confidence, education, responsibility and actions based on these aforementioned appropriate variables bring in the last piece of the puzzle. Mutual consent and understanding is not far behind.

  38. avatar
    Marco Franck

    no TAX, TAX the Belgian highways to the car users and truck users, order Belgium state member to stop discussing between regions and order Belgium state to quit having the tax payer citizen to pull more money out of their pocket cause they don’t have no money anymore!

  39. avatar
    Marco Franck

    Change, innovation are these in the EU vocabulary and strategic decisions? Private companies we work at ask us to embrace change and to come up with innovative ideas, so what are you waiting for rgds to the taxes?

  40. avatar
    Costi Ciudin

    ah, yes, taxes are the answer to any problem . . . but only if you want to make it twice as big

  41. avatar
    Joseph Bartolo

    Unhealthy Foods should not be produced and fruits and Vegitables should be grown only naturually and Never Ever genetically. TAX Should and must Be Less Taxable ei less than 5%.

  42. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    Tax all non-biologically grown dood, meat products, and all food products not grown in the EU. The EU stands for gainful employment for all Europeans, not just the supermarket owners.

  43. avatar
    Liliana Ramsing

    YES, of course! But not the customers should pay more taxes or higher prices! The producers should pay more taxes on unhealthy food and products! I mean extra taxes for producing unhealthy food! People will buy anyway, no matter of the prise. But if the producers need to pay extra, they might find other ways/means to create heathy products to avoid the extra taxes, smth. like that!

  44. avatar
    Jude De Froissard

    It goes without saying that normal food (called today bio ) should be much cheaper and more promoted everywhere…It is a stupidity of our time to have turned food into an industrial business with big power to companies that don’t care about the health of the people.We have no excuse nowadays to consume unhealthy day or another,nature will make us pay for our greed.

  45. avatar
    João Machado

    If only the monetary system would allow that…. we can discuss all fancy “solutions” to improve people’s and planet’s health. But at the end of the day, if producing crappy processed “food” brings more profit to companies, crappy processed food will be delivered at low prices to dumb down consumers, side by side with the industry propaganda. Efficiency and sustainability are the worst enemies of the monetary infinite consumption system. We need to change the root causes of the problem, not put on more bandages…

  46. avatar
    Marijus Stasiulis

    I’m sick and tired off “health facists”. Half population obese?
    Maybe in rich countries, i live in Lithuania, we earn enough to survive.
    1.Meat is not a problem for obesity, high sugar carbonated drinks and low physical activity makes you fat, not protein. How fat are carnivores?
    2.Greenhouse gas emissions? So dinosaurs farted and then got extinct?
    3.Waste food could be used to feed humans or pigs or as biomass.
    4.It is your choice to be fat and to eat whatever you want. Don’t eat meat if you think that what makes you fat.

  47. avatar
    Dionìs Koçi

    I agree! … And, for example, without even arriving at health benefits, I don’t even see any profit or any economical benefit (actually I find this one stupid) in making whole grains cost more than refined/partially refined grains. For refining the grains they have to remove (lose, probably) a part of the food, right? If anyone could explain me the least, I’d be very thankful! PS: I know once refined ones used to be more appreciated, but I am talking about the mentality, market and demand of today.

  48. avatar
    Joao Antonio Camoes

    Of course. Corporations will not allow any legislation with negative impact on their P&L account. MPs will be instructed by their leaders at the moment of voting.

  49. avatar
    Mascha Bloemer

    Nice idea, but not effective, as I wrote in my Bachelor’s thesis. Examples to be found in Hungary, Denmark and France.

  50. avatar
    Mascha Bloemer

    Nice idea, but not effective, as I wrote in my Bachelor’s thesis. Examples to be found in Hungary, Denmark and France.

  51. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    Yes. Prices are a «direction mechanism» for consumers. If prices don’t reflext all costs (as there are externalities) and are disconected from civilizational values, then the misdirection of consumers trough devious market signals will deterirate our civilization. ESTAING is not just an economic activity or just satisfying a physiologucal need: «eating» is a culture, a «civilization». What we eat, how we cook it, how we cultivate, hunt or raise what we eat defines us; as a civilizations. Thus, «what we eat» is loaded with far more than «market efficiency» and «utilizarianism» and should not be left to the market alone.

  52. avatar
    Yannick Cornet

    Let’s get this one right: ECOLOGICAL food should cost less, unhealthy chemical food should be taxed.

  53. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    Yes ! EU should find a way or help farmers to sell their cheap fruit and vegetable direct to consumers. EU should care for people’s health and for farmers. I know how cheap we could produce fruit and vegetables and I know very well much consumers has to pay for it in example Germany or Sweden . Consumers very often pay ten times higher price for fruit than farmers get for it . That is crazy , people can’t afford fruits and vegetables and farmers could produce it very cheap . Supermarkets don’t care for peoples health , they just want to make money . I did some research on that problem and I could find out that supermarkets don’t like to sell plenty of cheap fruit because they have to work much more , better they sell less to higher price and make the same money on it .

  54. avatar
    Tomasz Mazurek

    And who will be deciding what is healthy and what is not ? During my life i.e. butter was once healthy and after few years not and now it backed healthy again. I have better idea – let people to choose themselves. I mean all good shoul;d be taxed one rate only. If somebody wish to die because of unhealth food – well let him die. There is already too many laws coming from EU. So big NO ! bureaucrat shouldnt decide about that.

  55. avatar
    Christine Harris

    Yes. The multiples are undercutting smallholders producing healthy foods at cost. These farmers should receive incentives in the form of additional subsidies, particularly if they eschew organophosphates in favour of sustainable agriculture

  56. avatar
    Mariana de Almeida

    Definitly! And encourage small production by buying from local farmers and – why not? – growing your own vegetables, if you can… =)

  57. avatar
    Alex Borg

    Yes, absolutely. In generally, unhealthy foods should be taxed more because ultimately it will translate to a higher public healthcare cost.

  58. avatar
    Gatis Gailitis

    YES!!! We would bring the obesity rates down and we would spend much less of our tax money for our health care providers to take care of fat people!!
    While at the same time unhealthy eaters would have to contribute more tax money as they are more likely to have health complications. We are paying for fat people to treat their problems while we could eliminate the problem at its root and pay less for healthy food! Tax reform on food is an absolute must.

  59. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    By not letting the EU have anything to do with it !, they have already destroyed the economies in most of Europe & the last thing we need is Brussels messing with the food supply.


    Please do not call us ‘Europeans’ it is insulting.

    Until we leave your EU could you say ‘Europeans & the British’ , even ‘Europeans excluding the British’ would be preferable to being given a label we have not been asked if we want. – Thank you

  60. avatar
    Stella Kontogianni

    For now we eat what is cheap. We also know Mediterranean diet is healthier but fish are expensive. So all meds eat pasta all over the year!

  61. avatar
    Kossack Nikko

    By abolishing the EU would make it easier and would not be forced to import crao meat from Germany and Poland

  62. avatar
    Tuija Mustonen

    Yes, local sustainable healthy food should be preferred, also encouraged by all possible means. Right now it is the berry and mushroom season in Finland. If you go to forest to pick them yourself, its free luxury.

  63. avatar
    Claus Skøtt Christensen

    I hate to say it, but I think the vegetarians may have a point when they say we shouldn’t be eating so many animal products. Large scale livestock ranching is horrible for the environment, and we need a more diverse crop on our fields anyway.

  64. avatar
    Elena Henriques

    Information and education. We don’t need all the meat and milk we eat and when we do we should be aware what we are eating, where it came from and how it was produced so that we can know the impact in health. By the way Brandbell report has 50 years and animals still live in very poor conditions.

  65. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    First of all ban genetically modified products to be taken into the E.U.! If all European institutions were not capable of banning that and that rubbish is coming into Europe freely, even produced in Spain for example- what’s all that debate for and what the institutions are paid for?!

  66. avatar
    Thomas Hou

    Replace financial aid of meat by tax on meat and support vegetables and fruits producers. This would be an easy and efficient solution

  67. avatar
    Libero Mario

    Try to teach at school what means eat. maybe stop using cattle and start with buffalo.

  68. avatar
    Igor Karlić

    First we should abolish nationalistic baloney buy local and hate your neighbour. Why is the EU promoting quarrels between people?

  69. avatar
    Guillem Martí Bou

    Encouraged? That sounds dangerous… Sounds like: “you are stupid; I, the commissioner, Will say you what you should eat”.

  70. avatar
    José Gomes

    Our liberation starts because we can plant what we eat. This is food sovereignty. Growing your own food is like printing your own money. Wake up! 💡

  71. avatar
    Luchian Melnic Dumitrache

    Sign TTIP and you will never have to wonder about anything, as all regulatipn that will be written in US will cancell the European’s legislation

  72. avatar
    José Bessa da Silva

    Do not change my culture. I had enough with EU. If we want to eat fish and meat it is not up to the EU to decide.

  73. avatar

    Help traditional ans short circuit agriculture. Save rural landscapes. Quite junk food and taste gastronomy with local, tasty and wealthy products ! Stop dumping agriculture. In one word, promote Europe, your Europe !

  74. avatar
    Eugenia Serban

    Let us eat what we can, what we like. Let us be free.
    Trust us, we can make our own choices, stop manipulating people into buying only what corporation want.

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