196

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The future of crop protection in Europe

16-02-2021

The overall objective of the future of crop protection project is to present an overview of crop protection options for European farmers to enable them to work sustainably while securing food production, preserving biodiversity and supporting farmers' incomes. The policy options proposed are based on an assessment of current and emerging crop protection practices and their impact on the common agricultural policy (CAP) objectives. This overview shows that several crop protection practices are under ...

The overall objective of the future of crop protection project is to present an overview of crop protection options for European farmers to enable them to work sustainably while securing food production, preserving biodiversity and supporting farmers' incomes. The policy options proposed are based on an assessment of current and emerging crop protection practices and their impact on the common agricultural policy (CAP) objectives. This overview shows that several crop protection practices are under continuous development and have potential to improve future crop protection in Europe. The likelihood that policy options can be implemented successfully depends upon the extent to which they are consistent with the interests of stakeholder groups. These include farmers, suppliers, supply chain partners, consumers and NGOs defending societal interests. Furthermore, it is important that crop protection policy options are embedded in a systems perspective. This should include related areas, such as phytosanitary policy, the entire crop production system, the supply chain, and international trade relationships – which need to be in harmony with the crop protection policy. For each of these crop protection practices, different policy options are proposed, together with an impact assessment.

External author

DG, EPRS_This study has been written by Johan Bremmer, Marleen Riemens and Machiel Reinders of Wageningen University & Research at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - February 2021

04-02-2021

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

Recalls of sesame seed products due to pesticide residues

03-02-2021

In September 2020, Belgium initiated a notification in the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) concerning residues of an unauthorised substance called ethylene oxide (EO) in various lots of sesame seeds from India. This triggered a chain of enforced testing and controls, leading to withdrawals and recalls of significant amounts of products in many EU Member States, including products such as hummus, bread, and sauces containing sesame. Both conventional and organic products are concerned ...

In September 2020, Belgium initiated a notification in the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) concerning residues of an unauthorised substance called ethylene oxide (EO) in various lots of sesame seeds from India. This triggered a chain of enforced testing and controls, leading to withdrawals and recalls of significant amounts of products in many EU Member States, including products such as hummus, bread, and sauces containing sesame. Both conventional and organic products are concerned. A possible explanation according to scientists could be that ethylene oxide has been used for fumigating sesame seeds, to eradicate contamination with salmonella.

The use of pesticides in developing countries and their impact on health and the right to food

08-01-2021

This study provides a broad perspective on the main trends regarding the use of pesticides in developing countries and their impacts on human health and food security. Information is provided on the challenges of controlling these hazardous substances, along with the extent to which pesticides banned within the European Union (EU) are exported to third countries. The analysis assesses the factors behind the continuation of these exports, along with the rising demand for better controls. Recommendations ...

This study provides a broad perspective on the main trends regarding the use of pesticides in developing countries and their impacts on human health and food security. Information is provided on the challenges of controlling these hazardous substances, along with the extent to which pesticides banned within the European Union (EU) are exported to third countries. The analysis assesses the factors behind the continuation of these exports, along with the rising demand for better controls. Recommendations are intended to improve the ability for all people, including future generations, to have access to healthy food in line with United Nations declarations. These recommendations include collaborating with the Rotterdam Convention to strengthen capacity building programmes and the use of the knowledge base maintained by the Convention; supporting collaboration among developing countries to strengthen pesticide risk regulation; explore options to make regulatory risk data more transparent and accessible; strengthen research and education in alternatives to pesticides; stop all exports of crop protection products banned in the EU; only allow the export of severely restricted pesticides if these are regulated accordingly and used properly in the importing country; and support the re-evaluation of pesticide registrations in developing countries to be in line with FAO/WHO Code of Conduct.

External author

Swagata SARKAR, Juliana DIAS BERNARDES GIL, James KEELEY, Niklas MÖHRING, Kees JANSEN

What if blockchain could guarantee ethical AI?

21-12-2020

As artificial intelligence (AI) companies and other organisations are seeking ways to comply with ethical principles and requirements, blockchain, under specific circumstances, could be seen as a means to safeguard that AI is deployed in an ethically sound manner.

As artificial intelligence (AI) companies and other organisations are seeking ways to comply with ethical principles and requirements, blockchain, under specific circumstances, could be seen as a means to safeguard that AI is deployed in an ethically sound manner.

EU water legislation

10-12-2020

During the December plenary session, Parliament is due to hold a joint debate on water legislation, and subsequently to vote on final adoption of the regulation recasting the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and on a resolution on the implementation of EU water legislation. Revising the DWD is a result of the first-ever successful European citizens' initiative 'Right2Water'.

During the December plenary session, Parliament is due to hold a joint debate on water legislation, and subsequently to vote on final adoption of the regulation recasting the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and on a resolution on the implementation of EU water legislation. Revising the DWD is a result of the first-ever successful European citizens' initiative 'Right2Water'.

Reducing food waste in the European Union

01-12-2020

According to a 2019 report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), we know surprisingly little about how much food is lost or wasted, where along the food supply chain this happens, and why. Producing food that is not eaten – whether because it is lost in the field or wasted on a plate – not only diminishes the quantity of food available, but is also a waste of economic and environmental resources, FAO states. Around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually in ...

According to a 2019 report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), we know surprisingly little about how much food is lost or wasted, where along the food supply chain this happens, and why. Producing food that is not eaten – whether because it is lost in the field or wasted on a plate – not only diminishes the quantity of food available, but is also a waste of economic and environmental resources, FAO states. Around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually in the EU alone, with associated costs estimated at €143 billion. To address this issue, an EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste was established in 2016. The forum brings together key players seeking to provide help to all those involved in: defining measures to prevent food waste, including at EU level; sharing best practices; and evaluating progress made over time. The European Parliament has consistently backed the reduction of food waste. In its resolution of January 2020 on the European Green Deal, the EP calls for an enforceable EU-wide food waste reduction target of 50 % by 2030, based on a common methodology for measuring food waste. Member States are expected to have started collecting data on food waste in 2020 and to report on national food waste levels by mid-2022. As part of the European Green Deal action plan, the European Commission presented in May 2020 a 'Farm to Fork strategy' aimed at making food systems more sustainable. One of the targets included in the strategy is 'stepping up the fight against food waste', that is, cutting food waste by half with the help of legally binding EU-wide targets by 2023. In this context, the Commission also aims to revise EU rules on date marking in order to take account of consumer research indicating that the meaning of date marking on food products is often misinterpreted or misunderstood.

Climate change and its impact on food and nutrition security

30-11-2020

There is mounting evidence for negative consequences of climate change on human health worldwide, from both direct and indirect effects, mediated by ecosystems and socioeconomic systems. The impacts are being experienced in the EU, and the effects of climate change on food systems are a critical part of the overall impacts on human and planetary health. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Environment ...

There is mounting evidence for negative consequences of climate change on human health worldwide, from both direct and indirect effects, mediated by ecosystems and socioeconomic systems. The impacts are being experienced in the EU, and the effects of climate change on food systems are a critical part of the overall impacts on human and planetary health. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

External author

Robin FEARS

Research for the AGRI Committee - The Green Deal and the CAP: policy implications to adapt farming practices and to preserve the EU’s natural resources

23-11-2020

This document is the final report of the study developed by INRAE and AgroParisTech for the European Parliament: “The Green Deal and the CAP: policy implications to adapt farming practices and to preserve the EU’s natural resources’’ (IP/B/AGRI/IC/2020-036).

This document is the final report of the study developed by INRAE and AgroParisTech for the European Parliament: “The Green Deal and the CAP: policy implications to adapt farming practices and to preserve the EU’s natural resources’’ (IP/B/AGRI/IC/2020-036).

External author

Hervé GUYOMARD; Jean-Christophe BUREAU; Vincent CHATELLIER; Cécile DETANG-DESSENDRE; Pierre DUPRAZ; Florence JACQUET; Xavier REBOUD; Vincent REQUILLART; Louis-Georges SOLER; Margot TYSEBAERT

New plant-breeding techniques: Applicability of EU GMO rules

13-11-2020

New plant genetic modification techniques, referred to as 'gene editing' or 'genome editing', have evolved rapidly in recent years, allowing much faster and more precise results than conventional plant-breeding techniques. They are seen as a promising innovative field for the agri-food industry, offering great technical potential. Consumers could benefit from enhanced nutritional quality or reduced allergenicity of food, for example, such as gluten-reduced wheat. There is, however, considerable debate ...

New plant genetic modification techniques, referred to as 'gene editing' or 'genome editing', have evolved rapidly in recent years, allowing much faster and more precise results than conventional plant-breeding techniques. They are seen as a promising innovative field for the agri-food industry, offering great technical potential. Consumers could benefit from enhanced nutritional quality or reduced allergenicity of food, for example, such as gluten-reduced wheat. There is, however, considerable debate as to how these new techniques should be regulated, and whether some or all of them should fall within the scope of EU legislation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Those who take the view that the new techniques should be exempt from GMO legislation generally argue that the end product is very similar to products generated using conventional breeding techniques, or that similar changes could also occur naturally. Those who consider that the new techniques should fall within the scope of GMO legislation contend that the processes used mean that plants bred using the new techniques are in fact genetically modified. In July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that genome-edited organisms fall under the scope of European GMO legislation. While welcomed by some, the judgment also sparked criticism and calls for the new European Commission to amend EU GMO legislation. In November 2019, the Council requested that the Commission submit a study in light of the Court of Justice judgment regarding the status of novel genomic techniques (NGTs), by 30 April 2021. This is an updated edition of an October 2019 Briefing.

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