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The new Community choices on the policies for the promotion of agri-food products are not convincing. Very questionable, according to the Alliance of Agri-food Cooperatives, is, first of all, having introduced, in the new promotion program that the European Commission is preparing to adopt for 2022, elements that aim to discriminate red and processed meats, wine and alcoholic beverages, as they are considered to be foods linked to cancer risk factors and not in line with the objectives of more sustainable food production and consumption pursued by Europe. Not only that, even the budget allocation appears unbalanced, since the choices of the European Commission actually increase the budget for the promotion of organic products, to the detriment of the promotion of sustainability and quality products. This is the position of the Alliance of Agri-food Cooperatives, which fully shares the concerns expressed by Copa-Geca and by 11 other European groups that have recently signed a heartfelt appeal to the EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski to avoid any discriminatory approach from part of the Commission in the Annual Work Program (AWP), which remains “an essential tool that can really help the agri-food sector to maintain its competitiveness in an increasingly globalized context, while supporting the transition to a food system more sustainable “.
On the merits, the Agri-food Cooperative Alliance highlights some weaknesses in the approach pursued by the Commission. The introduction of sub-criteria for the admission and financing of promotion projects that penalize projects presented by alcoholic beverages and red meat companies is a decision that the Commission motivates on the basis of an orientation that must be in line with the principles of sustainability contained in the new CAP, the Green Deal, the Farm to fork and the Beating Cancer plan.
“It obviously comes – comments the president of the Alliance of Agri-food Cooperatives, Giorgio Mercuri – of a somewhat questionable legal basis, since, as is well known, the documents indicated are in fact communications and strategic positions of the commission that have not yet materialized in legislative and legally binding acts. A problem that was explicitly raised by the Member States which, during the vote on the AWP 2022, decided to abstain or to vote against, unlike Italy which instead voted in favor “. The second objection is that, in the new draft of the AWP, the Commission has disowned the great efforts that the two sectors of red meat and wine and alcohol have made in recent years to ensure increasingly sustainable production. On the contrary, according to Mercuri, “these sectors should be supported in this process aimed at further increasing their sustainability, choosing to focus on the messages that accompany the promotion programs, instead of deciding to discriminate against them tout court”.
Finally, with respect to the specific attacks on red meats and alcoholic beverages, the Alliance of Agri-food Cooperatives recalls how red meat plays an important role in a balanced diet as it is an important source of high quality proteins, while as regards wine, the Commission has not distinguished at all between consumption and abuse, where it has been repeatedly highlighted that the moderate consumption of wine as part of a balanced diet does not in any way increase the risk of cancer.

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Marco Ribaudo

Marco Ribaudo

For the love of food and wine! Marco Ribaudo, Certified Sommelier, with 25 years in the food and beverage industry now invites you to join him in his latest adventure, the opening of la Cucina del Vino to share his culture and passion for creating unforgettable memories around the table.

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