French Ministry of Agriculture

The Estates-General of Food, launched on July 20, 2017, just ended on Dec. 21 in Paris. Over a period of five months, these events were the opportunity for a time of shared reflection and constructive collection among various actors in the food and agriculture industry to find new solutions to agricultural challenges.

As part of this, different workshops met and proposed various solutions and recommendations to challenges in food and agriculture policy. Here are some highlights of the different proposals presented in the various domains regarding consumer expectations (for the proposals on business relations along the food chain, see FFUS October) addressed during this series of major French food policy summits.

Developing geographical indications and organic agriculture:

  • A new “Ambition Organic” plan for organic farming will be defined in the first part of 2018, with detailed objectives to attain before 2022.
  • Official signs of quality and origin will be encouraged to include environmental practices in their official product specifications.

Succeed in the French ecological agriculture transition

  • The details of implementing the calendar for progressively eliminating certain pesticides will be published during the first part of 2018, and the Ecophyto program [which aims at reducing the use of pesticides] will be adapted, in its governance structure, its operational management and its financing for accelerating the implementation of solutions.
  • Bringing alternative products to the market (biocontrol, etc.) will be encouraged (by simplified procedures, for example).

Meeting societal demands in animal welfare

  • Animal protection associations will be able to become civil parties in legal proceedings concerning infractions of animal welfare laws.
  • Criminal punishments in the case of poor treatment of animals will be reinforced and expanded to slaughterhouses and establishments that transport living animals.

Strengthening the consumer’s information on food products:

  • The nutrition guidelines (daily intake on fruits and vegetables, sugar, salt…) will be updated, and consumer information on those guidelines intensified, in particular for children in schools, in order to promote healthy diets.
  • The initiatives, including at the European Union level, to improve labelling information on products, nutritional allegations and information, and on the ways it was produced, will be encouraged.

Preventing food waste and encouraging donations

  • Food aid will be enlarged to a more global approach to fighting food insecurity.
  • The requirements to donate unused food products to charities will be expanded to collective food establishments like hospitals and school cafeterias and to the entire food industry beyond a to-be-determined threshold.
  • Education in schools on food waste prevention will be enhanced

These are just a few highlights of the dozens of recommendations to be put in place over the coming months and years, with a goal to completely reinvigorate France’s food system. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and French Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert officially ended the summit last month with closing speeches highlighting the progress made with input from all actors in the field.