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What if we didn't need cows for our beef?

12-07-2019

With the help of cells from a single cow, scientists can produce 175 million hamburgers. What if we didn’t need cows for our beef? Technologies for producing cultured meat and dairy products will help feeding the world in a sustainable way. What if we could produce meat without farming? New technology within reach to produce meat with a very low eco-footprint

With the help of cells from a single cow, scientists can produce 175 million hamburgers. What if we didn’t need cows for our beef? Technologies for producing cultured meat and dairy products will help feeding the world in a sustainable way. What if we could produce meat without farming? New technology within reach to produce meat with a very low eco-footprint

What if policy anticipated advances in science and technology?

26-06-2019

What if blockchain revolutionised voting? What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you? And what if we genetically engineered an entire species? Science and policy are intricately connected. Via monthly 'What if' publications, the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA; part of the European Parliamentary Research Service) draws Members of the European Parliament's attention to new scientific and technological developments relevant for policy-making. The unit also provides administrative support to the ...

What if blockchain revolutionised voting? What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you? And what if we genetically engineered an entire species? Science and policy are intricately connected. Via monthly 'What if' publications, the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA; part of the European Parliamentary Research Service) draws Members of the European Parliament's attention to new scientific and technological developments relevant for policy-making. The unit also provides administrative support to the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), which brings together 25 Members from nine different parliamentary committees who share a strong interest in science and technology in the context of policy-making.

Spirit drinks: Definition, labelling and geographical indications

28-05-2019

In December 2016, the European Commission proposed to replace Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 – the Spirit Drinks Regulation – with a new one, with the aim of aligning it with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The proposal mainly involves grouping the provisions adopted by the Commission into delegated and implementing acts. In addition, it replaces the existing procedures for the protection of geographical indications (GIs) of spirit drinks with new ones, modelled on the recently ...

In December 2016, the European Commission proposed to replace Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 – the Spirit Drinks Regulation – with a new one, with the aim of aligning it with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The proposal mainly involves grouping the provisions adopted by the Commission into delegated and implementing acts. In addition, it replaces the existing procedures for the protection of geographical indications (GIs) of spirit drinks with new ones, modelled on the recently updated procedures for quality schemes applied to agricultural products and foodstuffs. According to spirits industry representatives, the proposal contained some substantive changes that needed to be studied in detail to determine their impact. The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) was responsible for the file in the European Parliament. A provisional agreement was reached at the third trilogue meeting, on 27 November 2018. The agreement was confirmed by the Special Committee on Agriculture in December 2018 and approved in the ENVI committee on 22 January 2019. A plenary vote in the EP was held on 13 March 2019. The act was signed on 17 April and the regulation published in the Official Journal on 17 May 2019. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Food chain risk assessment transparency

10-04-2019

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids), the European Commission has proposed to revise and harmonise transparency rules in these policy areas. A vote to finalise Parliament's position took place at the December 2018 plenary. A provisional agreement reached in trilogue negotiations on 11 February 2019 is now awaiting ...

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids), the European Commission has proposed to revise and harmonise transparency rules in these policy areas. A vote to finalise Parliament's position took place at the December 2018 plenary. A provisional agreement reached in trilogue negotiations on 11 February 2019 is now awaiting Parliament's final approval at first reading during the April II plenary session.

Food Labelling for Consumers – EU Law, Regulation and Policy Options

15-03-2019

This study, commissioned by the PETI Committee of the European Parliament, provides a brief overview of the relevant EU labelling legislation Member States have to comply with, with regard to labelling of food, including organic products, for consumers, with emphasis on the requirements of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. It critically assesses these laws and discusses progress - or lack thereof -, in particular with regard to aspects such as safety, health effects, effects for disabled people, etc. ...

This study, commissioned by the PETI Committee of the European Parliament, provides a brief overview of the relevant EU labelling legislation Member States have to comply with, with regard to labelling of food, including organic products, for consumers, with emphasis on the requirements of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. It critically assesses these laws and discusses progress - or lack thereof -, in particular with regard to aspects such as safety, health effects, effects for disabled people, etc. It explores and elaborates on the question of whether the current labelling requirements actually result in clearer information to help citizens to better understand the composition and health effects of food. The study also provides brief analyses/assessments of several petitions provided by the PETI Committee. Where possible, this study makes (policy) recommendations for EU institutions and/or Member States, taking into account their respective remits.

Externí autor

Dr. Kai P. Purnhagen, Wageningen University and Erasmus University of Rotterdam; Dr. Hanna Schebesta, Wageningen University

Understanding algorithmic decision-making: Opportunities and challenges

05-03-2019

The expected benefits of Algorithmic Decision Systems (ADS) may be offset by the variety of risks for individuals (discrimination, unfair practices, loss of autonomy, etc.), the economy (unfair practices, limited access to markets, etc.) and society as a whole (manipulation, threat to democracy, etc.). We present existing options to reduce the risks related to ADS and explain their limitations. We sketch some recommendations to overcome these limitations to be able to benefit from the tremendous ...

The expected benefits of Algorithmic Decision Systems (ADS) may be offset by the variety of risks for individuals (discrimination, unfair practices, loss of autonomy, etc.), the economy (unfair practices, limited access to markets, etc.) and society as a whole (manipulation, threat to democracy, etc.). We present existing options to reduce the risks related to ADS and explain their limitations. We sketch some recommendations to overcome these limitations to be able to benefit from the tremendous possibilities of ADS while limiting the risks related to their use. Beyond providing an up-to-date and systematic review of the situation, the report gives a precise definition of a number of key terms and an analysis of their differences. The main focus of the report is the technical aspects of ADS. However, other legal, ethical and social dimensions are considered to broaden the discussion.

Externí autor

DG, EPRS

Farming without plant protection products

04-03-2019

Plant Protection Products (PPPs) are often perceived by consumers as very harmful for human health and for the environment. The tendency in the EU policy is to stimulate the reduction of PPPs. Can we maintain high yield with less PPPs? This paper presents the current state of the art regarding the role of PPPs in securing global food production, preserving biodiversity and supporting farmer’s income. The role of various stakeholders on the current perception of risk by the general public is given ...

Plant Protection Products (PPPs) are often perceived by consumers as very harmful for human health and for the environment. The tendency in the EU policy is to stimulate the reduction of PPPs. Can we maintain high yield with less PPPs? This paper presents the current state of the art regarding the role of PPPs in securing global food production, preserving biodiversity and supporting farmer’s income. The role of various stakeholders on the current perception of risk by the general public is given and promising alternative and more sustainable strategies to further reduce PPP use. This report is meant as a background document to support the debate that will take place during the workshop ‘Farming without plant protection products?’, 6 March 2019, which contrasts the contents of this report with perspectives from conventional agriculture, the stance of organic farmers and the viewpoint of consumers.

Externí autor

DG, EPRS

Reconsidering the General Food Law

26-02-2019

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission published a proposal to review the General Food Law Regulation and amend eight legislative acts dealing with specific food chain sectors. The proposal follows-up on the European Citizens' Initiative on glyphosate; and especially on concerns regarding the transparency of the scientific studies used in the evaluation of pesticides. The proposal also responds to a fitness check of the General Food Law, completed in January 2018. The proposal's objective is to ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission published a proposal to review the General Food Law Regulation and amend eight legislative acts dealing with specific food chain sectors. The proposal follows-up on the European Citizens' Initiative on glyphosate; and especially on concerns regarding the transparency of the scientific studies used in the evaluation of pesticides. The proposal also responds to a fitness check of the General Food Law, completed in January 2018. The proposal's objective is to increase the transparency and sustainability of the EU scientific assessment model, and other aspects such as governance of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In the European Parliament, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) adopted its report on 27 November 2018. A vote in plenary to finalise Parliament's position took place on 11 December and the Council adopted its position on 12 December 2018. A provisional agreement was reached at the third trilogue meeting on 11 February 2019, and was endorsed in the ENVI committee on 20 February. The text will be the subject of a vote to adopt it in plenary in the coming weeks. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Transparency of EU risk assessment in food chain

05-12-2018

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the European Commission proposed to revise the transparency rules in these policy areas. The European Parliament is expected to vote during its December plenary session on the report of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee, and on a mandate to start ...

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the European Commission proposed to revise the transparency rules in these policy areas. The European Parliament is expected to vote during its December plenary session on the report of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee, and on a mandate to start interinstitutional negotiations.

What if algorithms could abide by ethical principles?

20-11-2018

Algorithms, are step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, usually expressed in computer code as a set of instructions for a computer to follow in order to complete a task. Day-to-day decisions around the world are increasingly based on data science techniques powered by machine learning algorithms that are gradually making a meaningful impact on human lives. For example, the operation of intermediary platforms that propose accommodation (AirBnB) or transportation alternatives (Uber) are extensively ...

Algorithms, are step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, usually expressed in computer code as a set of instructions for a computer to follow in order to complete a task. Day-to-day decisions around the world are increasingly based on data science techniques powered by machine learning algorithms that are gradually making a meaningful impact on human lives. For example, the operation of intermediary platforms that propose accommodation (AirBnB) or transportation alternatives (Uber) are extensively using algorithms. Algorithms implicitly or explicitly are not neutral as they comprise essential value-judgments that can potentially have race or sex biases. This raises an important question: is it possible to develop and ensure that algorithms are ethical?

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