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Quality of life cover top story
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Quality of life: the vital ingredient - Know what's on our plate

Citizens' rights / Consumers / Environment / Public health / Food safety 23-01-2014 - 10:38 / Updated: 28-01-2014 - 09:43

What does the quality of life mean to you? Is it safe food, accessible medical care, cleaner air and a greener environment? Or would it be strong consumers’ rights or knowing that your private data are safe online? The European Parliament considers improving the quality of life in Europe vital. Find out more by reading our article. (Read more: ReAct Rome: It's all about the quality of life)

Italy is known for la dolce vita, so it is the ideal setting for a conference on the quality of life. The European Parliament held its latest ReACT conference in Rome, one of five held throughout Europe on different themes ahead of the May 2014 European Elections. The conference took place in Cinecittà, the legendary cinema studios on 23 January. Health, sustainability and food were on the menu of the day for the experts and other interested people attending the event. (Read more: ReACT Rome: improving the quality of life in Europe)

The most hazardous plastics and certain plastic bags should be banned by 2020, as part of an EU strategy to reduce plastic waste in the environment, says the European Parliament in a resolution voted on Tuesday. The EU should also introduce binding plastic waste recycling targets, MEPs add. (Read more: Plastic waste: Parliament sounds the alarm)

Smokers have so proved resilient to anti-smoking campaigns. Showing pictures of cancer-infected lungs on cigarette packs accompanied by bold warnings have not led to droves of people giving up on their cancer sticks. However, the EU is not giving up. In order to bring down the alarmingly high rate of European smokers, new legislation is being planned. Follow the EP's public hearing on tobacco products Monday and check out our infographic for more details about smoking in the EU. (Read more: Smoking: can new rules help to stub out a nasty habit?)

Parliament endorsed draft rules defining pollen as a natural constituent of honey, rather than an ingredient, in a vote on Wednesday. This means that GM pollen has to be labelled if it makes up more than 0.9% of the honey. (Read more: Parliament clarifies labelling rules for honey if contaminated by GM pollen )

Cocoa is not only essential to creating delicious chocolate, but it is also a commodity millions of people depend upon for their income. The European Parliament will vote this week on the 2010 International Cocoa Agreement which aims to improve market transparency and strengthen co-operation between exporting and importing countries. MEPs will also vote on a separate resolution to condemn the use of child labour for cocoa production. (Read more: EP to vote on agreement governing the bittersweet trade in cocoa)

Worried about mobile phones exploding in your faces or toys falling apart in the hands of your kids? So is the EP. To ensure products are safer for people to use, the EP's consumer protection committee adopted two reports on 17 October. Under the plans consumers would receive more information about what they were buying and products would be subject to higher safety requirements. We talked to the two MEPs behind the proposals about how the new rules would improve safety for consumers. (Read more: Interview: how new product rules will improve safety for consumers)

Water is of vital importance. MEPs on the environment committee voted on 29 May in favour of a report by Austrian Christian-Democrat Richard Seeber aimed at creating a solid and ambitious legislative base for addressing the EU's water challenges over the long term. Check out our infographic to see why it matters. (Read more: Water: why we should care)

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform package, including measures to halt overfishing and a ban on discarding fish at sea, Parliament's key aims, was approved in a final plenary vote on Tuesday. Labelling rules have also been overhauled, to improve information for consumers. The new legislation should allow for more sustainable fishing and take effect on time, at the start of 2014. (Read more: Green light for new sustainable EU fisheries policy from 2014)

MEPs called on the Commission not to allow the genetically modified maize crop Pioneer 1507 on the EU market. This insect-resistant crop could be dangerous to harmless butterflies and moths, said a resolution approved on Thursday. We spoke to Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, a German member of the S&D group, who opposed approval along with other members of the environment committee. “Based on this proposal, we are clearly lacking evidence on the safety of this new GMO strain to have it on the EU markets." (Read more: No to GMO: "We are clearly lacking evidence on the safety of this new strain")

REF. : 20140120TST33101

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