European Digestive Health Summit 2017
“You are what you eat” - What are the challenges for food policy & how to improve digestive health?
November 29, 2017, European Parliament, Brussels
hosted by UEG and MEP Michèle Rivasi
The second European Digestive Health Summit was hold at the European Parliament in Brussels (room ASPA5E1) on November 29, 2017. The 2h event was jointly hosted by UEG and Member of the European Parliament, Michèle Rivasi (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, France). The summit was followed by a networking reception proving an excellent opportunity for engagement with European policymakers and opinion leaders in the area of health.
The European Digestive Health Summit 2017, organised by UEG and MEP Michèle Rivasi of the Green Party, highlighted the need to improve digestive heath by means of healthy nutrition.
MEP Rivasi kicked off the Summit by speaking about the important role of the European Parliament, how there is a need for more regulation, especially of agrobusiness, how preventive actions are urgent to reduce the risks and the rise of cancers, and how legislation needs to be drafted focusing on advertisements targeted at children.
After MEP Rivasi, DG SANTE’s Tim Gumbel spoke about the challenges faced by the Commission in relation to health-driven policies, and about how the line is drawn between member state responsibilities and those at European level. The Commission’s initiatives to date have largely focused on single nutrients, so salt reduction initiatives in 2008, and selected nutrients initiatives in 2011. He reminded the Summit not to forget about small-scale producers, like SMEs. Gumbel finished off by saying that marketing to children should be better regulated.
Food reformulation and related efforts to make the nutrition of Europe’s citizens heathier have been subject to intense discussions at the EU level. Europe is challenged by the rise of obesity, increased alcohol consumption and prevalence of western diets. On the other side, novel foods, bio products, food supplements and products promising healthier lifestyle emerged on the market. The question remains: how do we find the right balance for (digestive) heath and ensure “heathier” choices?