Daniel Cohn-Bendit

Positions on food scandals

26. 03. 13


The industrial food production system in Europe needs to change!

The recent food and horsemeat scandals have shown that something clearly needs to change. We do not only need more regular and strict controls but need to rethink the industrial production of our food as a whole. The outcome of that system is clearly visible: Farmers face extreme price competition, production chains consisting of brokers, cold-store operators and subcontracted meat-cutting plants are extremely long and vulnerable to misuse. The industry is maximising profits and lowering costs, rather then to be concerned about food safety. We propose a strengthening of regional products and labelling. The CAP needs to be reformed in a way that not only the already very big and powerful food producers benefit, but also the small and medium sized farms.

More regular and thorough controls!

Even though the greens are aware that this is not the only solution to the problem, a putting in place of more and stricter controls and labelling is the first step towards higher quality food. Independent food controls have not been strengthened in the last years but on the opposite been reduced due to harsh austerity policies in the member states. Instead the food industry has conducted own controls with the result being visible today.

Same goes for labelling. A clear and easy labelling on every product would increase the understanding of the origins of a product. In that way the consumer is informed and can base the purchase decision on more information than provided at the moment.

Cheap meat is a myth!

If one looks at the enormous distances animals travel around in Europe - already been called "Animal Interrail" by a journalist - to be fed and slaughtered only to end up in the supermarkets with a price of around 5€ for a kilo, you quickly notice something is wrong. The price reflected in the supermarket is not the real cost, nor for proper animal treatment or the environmental costs. These two suffer the most from the artificial low prices - and now consumers as well.

Eat more vegetables!

Not only the food production system has to change, our consumer behaviour needs to change as well. Already one day of not eating meat in a week could save immense costs on the environment and all resources used in the food production (notably gas and petrol). Not only that, eating less meat overall but higher quality meat sometimes (which is bound to be more expensive) will provide for a better and healthier nutrition. The difference between for example industrial poultry (which sometimes contains up to 25% water) and high quality poultry is remarkable!

Enormous amounts of waste

Another serious problem is the massive production of food waste, which amounts up to 30% of the food in circulation gets thrown away. Together with the thrown away food which does not even reach the market, figures go up to 50%! That is an incredible number. This waste often gets retransferred into the feed of animals which ultimately leads to a kind of cannibalism. That needs to stop!