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Food Safety

EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices

The EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices is one of the first deliverables of the Farm to Fork Strategy and an integral part of its action plan. It sets out the actions that the actors ‘between the farm and the fork’, such as food processors, food service operators and retailers, can voluntarily commit to undertake to tangibly improve and communicate their sustainability performance. These actions can be directly relevant and implementable within their own operations or may encourage collaboration with industry peers and other food system stakeholders (such as farmers and consumers) to make similar changes. The Code of entered into force on 5 July 2021.

The EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices contains a set of 7 aspirational objectives as voluntary commitments for action together with a monitoring and evaluation framework to measure progress. The Commission will consider legislative measures if progress is insufficient. The process to develop the Code of Conduct started in December 2020. Based on a concept note prepared by the Commission, a technical meeting gathered a large number of stakeholders from representative industry associations as well as from NGOs to discuss the way forward.

To formally launch the process for developing the Code of Conduct, a High-level stakeholder event took place on 26 January 2021 with interventions from Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, MEP Herbert Dorfmann (rapporteur for the Farm to Fork Strategy at the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development), MEP Sarah Wiener (shadow rapporteur for the Farm to Fork Strategy at the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety) and industry players.

On 5 July 2021, a High-level celebratory stakeholder event formally launched the entry into force of the Code. On that day 65 signatories (23 associations and 42 companies) signed the Code and committed to help accelerate the needed transformation.

What does the Code of Conduct contain?

The Code includes a set of 7 aspirational objectives, each with specific targets and a list of indicative, tangible and measurable actions, which actually contribute to a food environment that makes healthy and sustainable food choices easier. Commitments may take the form of a declaration of engagement and actions in major areas, together with an agreement to move towards higher levels of ambition within a defined timeframe. For the more advanced who wish to make greater commitments, the Code also includes a framework for more ambitious, measurable actions.

THE CODE

High-level stakeholder celebratory event marking the launch of the Code of Conduct

The European Commission, alongside industry stakeholders, launched on 5 July 2021 the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices, one of the first deliverables under the Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy. On the occasion of the launch, a high level stakeholder event was being organised with a keynote address from the Commissioner for Health and Food Stella Kyriakides, as well as video messages from the Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton. The Code was presented by Dirk Jacobs, the Chair of the Task Force that developed the  the Code of Conduct. This Code is an essential part of the efforts to increase the availability and affordability of healthy, sustainable food options that help reduce our overall environmental footprint. It has been developed with EU associations and companies, as well as international organisations, NGOs, trade unions and trade associations. Associations and companies in the food sector that sign the Code voluntarily commit to accelerate their contribution to a sustainable transition.

On the day of the launch of the Code, 65 signatories (26 food manufacturers, 15 food retailers, 1 from the food service sector, 23 associations) became the first pioneering companies and associations

Signatories

Please be informed that the closure date for receiving new pledges prior to the UN FSS Pre-Summit is set at Friday 16 July cob. Pledges received after that date will be taken into account for the UN FSS Summit in September.

Code of Conduct contacts

SANTE-CODE-OF-CONDUCT@ec.europa.eu and GROW-CODE-OF-CONDUCT-FOOD@ec.europa.eu

Stakeholders wishing to sign the Code should submit:

  • a document outlining their support to the Code (for associations), their concrete commitments (for companies) or any other type of support (for other stakeholders)
  • a high resolution logo

UN Food Systems Summit

What happened?

In the months leading up to June 2021, the Commission organised several meetings with a broad range of stakeholders to discuss the Code and its content.

The first such meeting was held on 23 February 2021.

To ensure transparency in the process, meeting reports are published on this website.

Meetings 2021

There have been three types of meetings: High level event meetings, General stakeholder meetings and Task Force Thematic Sessions

High level event meetings

General stakeholder meetings

Task Force Thematic Sessions

  • 29 April - Thematic session 4: Monitoring and Evaluation
  • 21 April - Thematic session 3: Improving the sustainability of the food value chain - in relation to primary producers and other actors in the chain
  • 15 April - Thematic session 2: Improving the Impact of food processing, retail and food services’ own operations on sustainability
  • 8 April - Thematic session 1: Food consumption patterns (for healthy and sustainable diets)
  • 31 March - Thematic session 4: Monitoring and Evaluation
  • 25 March - Thematic session 3: Improving the sustainability of the food value chain - in relation to primary producers and other actors in the chain
  • 23 March - Thematic session 2: Improving the Impact of food processing, retail and food services’ own operations on sustainability
  • 17 March - Thematic session 1: Food consumption patterns (for healthy and sustainable diets)
  • 11 March - Thematic session 4: Monitoring and Evaluation
  • 10 March - Kick off task force meeting on the Code of Conduct