(Brussels, 28 January 2019) FoodDrinkEurope is disappointed about the recommendations of a report which was issued by The Lancet Commission on Obesity today.
The report’s conclusion that “vested commercial interests” should be excluded from the policy table is directly at odds with the conclusions of the political declaration which was adopted by all Heads of State and government at the High Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases held during the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2018, which supports meaningful engagement with the private sector, including through public-private partnership.
It is clear that no single actor can solve the global societal challenges of obesity, undernutrition and climate change on its own. The European food and drink industry is taking on these challenges in a context of having to produce more food to meet higher demand from a rising global population, against a background of less available land, water, energy and effects of global warming.
In many EU Member States, public authorities and the industry are already working together and have signed plans or agreements on product reformulation for nutrition and health purposes. Pledges and codes have been developed for responsible commercial communications and sales practices in primary and secondary schools which are continuously being evaluated and improved where needed. The European food and drink industry also provides – within its capacity and remit – support to a wide range of initiatives and programmes that aim at increasing understanding the role of nutrition, eating habits and recommended physical activity. (1)
In addition, preventing and reducing food waste is essential priority for food and drink manufacturers and forms an important part in delivering a Circular Economy. Food and drink manufacturers in Europe are actively working to reduce food waste in their operations and along the food chain, for example through food donation initiatives and innovative supply chain partnerships.
It is our firm belief that only by working together can we make a difference. Joining forces with other stakeholders including governments, food chain suppliers and NGOs, Europe’s food and drink industry has already proven its active contribution to the fight against malnutrition and diet-related NCDs, and the shift towards more sustainable food systems.
(1). See also Eat & Live Well for a snapshot of activities