FOOD SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
Italy and the European Union have always been in the vanguard regarding food safety and the quality of food products. To assure consumers of a high level of food safety and safeguard the agri food sector from recurrent crises, the EU has adopted the farm to fork strategy to meet the challenge of assuring health and safe food along the whole food chain, with an integrated control system, based on a combination of high requirements for agri food products for health and animal and plant welfare, whether produced in the EU or imported.
All Member States must respect the same criteria and food and sanitary controls are carried out to the same standard across the EU. By harmonising the sanitary regulations, the free movement of safe food was made possible contributing significantly to the well-being of citizens and their social and economic interests.
The main principles of the food regulations are:
- integrated controls along the whole of the food chain
- interventions based on Risk Analysis
- primary responsibility of each sector operator for each product made, transformed, imported, marketed or distributed
- traceability of the product along the food chain
- the consumer as an active part of food safety.
EU legumes benefit people and the planet.
Driven by health, climate change, natural resources and animal welfare concerns, an increasing number of consumers eat more plant-based protein sources. The production of legumes is much more environmentally sustainable than the production of animal proteins, requiring fewer natural resources to grow, in terms of water consumption, fertilisers and chemicals. European agriculture can become more sustainable with the cultivation of protein plants such as soya, peas, and broad beans, and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (SDGs 2 and 15), improving the world’s food supply and using natural resources in a sustainable way.
The farming of legumes brings many environmental benefits:
- Low carbon footprint: Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture come in large part from nitrogen fertilisers. Since legumes are a nitrogen-fixing crop, they only require small amount
of fertiliser to grow.
- Good for the soil: thanks to the different organic material they produce while growing, legumes feed microorganisms in the ground, benefiting soil health. Once harvested, they leave extra nutrients for the next crop to be grown on the same soil.
- Good for biodiversity: they benefit bees as their flowering season is different to most arable crops. In addition, they are a refuge for other wildlife.
- Compared to many other sources of protein, legumes need less water and can grow in various conditions in the EU, including wet or dry, hot or cold.
In July 2017, 14 EU Member States signed the European Soya Declaration which aims to boost legume cultivation in Europe, integrate legumes into crop rotation, maintain traditional landscape values and dehydrators develop sustainable legume markets.