Stricter rules are not the solution for climate change

Strict EU laws on food are seen as the right solution to climate change issue. But, a responsible supply chain would work better with less law-ties

In the past 20 years, European Union has enacted many new rules and regulations concerning food. How our food is produced, transported, labeled, and even consumed has all been up for debate. For example, the regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 that went into effect on December 13 2016, included clauses about labeling the potential allergens present, as well as the inclusion of the origin place of both vegetables and certain fresh meats.

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Many of these new laws are a response to help attempt to reverse global climate change and make sure the planet is left livable to the younger generations. In 2014, climate change was identified as the cause of the spread of apple snails in the south European wetlands. Apple snails are a plant pest, defined as any animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns, including crops, livestock and forestry, among others. The extreme weather events and flooding in the South, another negative impact of climate change, only increased the natural spread of this pest via rivers and canals.

For a final example, let’s take a look at mushrooms. Mushrooms, a type of fungi, can produce chemicals called mycotoxins, some of which are highly toxic. These chemicals can infect other plants, and also infect the food chain through contained food we consume or contaminated feed crops. Two species of aspergillus, a fungus found in areas with hot and humid climates, can produce this chemical. Rising temperatures and rising humidity linked to climate change contributed to the spread, and therefore possible cross contamination of these mushrooms throughout Europe.

However, none of these new laws consider the fact that the way to counteract the effects of climate change the most are local sources of food. Meat raised on a farm down the road from the consumer is much more ethical and less detrimental to the environment than shipping it from across the world. The future is food forests and the consumer’s food, both meat and plants, coming from less than an hour away from them. To stop giving in to the detrimental effects the current shipping system has on the environment, try planting a vegetable garden, or making sure that the butcher shop is a local one.

For Free Choice aims to promote scientific information and method in public discourse. For Free Choice also defends consumers’ choice rights against the smear and demonizing campaigns which aim to confuse them and benefit specific interests.