Sustainability messages being overlooked in Europe

EUPHA report

The European Public Health Association (EUPHA) has called for all European states to establish a statutory Sustainable Nutrition Task Force that considers and includes the wider aspects of food.

EUPHA’s recent report – Healthy and Sustainable Diets for European Countries – says that there is a need for greater alignment of health and sustainability messages on diet and nutrition across Europe. It states that: ‘Despite convincing evidence of the very considerable impact that food systems and human diets exert on public and planetary health, concerted guidelines and policy action that include sustainable aspects, in addition to healthy nutrition, are lacking in Europe’.

“It is time to combine efforts to improve the quality of diets and reduce the environmental impacts of the food industry. This is a challenge not only for the public health community, but also for the agricultural, food processing industry and consumers,” says Dr Christopher Birt, president of the EUPHA section on food and nutrition.

The report recommends that European Commission and governments of non-member states of the EU should each establish a statutory Sustainable Nutrition Task Force, the responsibilities of which would be, in each jurisdiction:

  • to identify essential key features of a healthy and sustainable food system;
  • to formulate and to recommend a strategic plan for moving from current food systems towards healthy and sustainable alternatives, including by adopting a multi-disciplinary approach to food and nutrition;
  • to plan and recommend a programme for implementation of the strategy for sustainable and healthy food systems;
  • to monitor progress towards implementation of such policies;
  • to supervise the evaluation of outcomes in relation to both healthy nutrition and sustainability.

According to EUPHA it will continue to advocate for a WHO Convention on Sustainable Healthy Nutrition and will assist its members in advocating at national level.