European Digestive Health Summit 2018

"Reformulating processed foods for better health"
November 28, European Parliament Brussels

Hosted by the Digestive Health Group and MEP Pavel Poc (Czech Republic, S&D)

The third European Digestive Health Summit was held in the European Parliament, Room A1E-3 on Nov 28 from 13:00 to 15:00. In the context of food reformulation, the event discussed the food systems and how processed food can be made healthier. This was the third event run by the MEP Digestive Health Group.


The Digestive Health Summit provides an annual platform for animated dialogue between scientists and policymakers on topical digestive health issues. This year’s event will focus on the reformulation of processed foods for better health.

The journey that our food travels from farm to fork typically involves a range of stages involving farmers and producers. The Western diet is typically high in unhealthy processed foods, often containing high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat, which are major contributors to obesity and chronic disease. Chronic digestive diseases like inflammatory bowel disease affect about 3 million people in Europe, and cost the EU up to €5.6 billion per year.  

During the third European Digestive Health Summit, we will discuss the health problems associated with excess intake of such foods, the need for reformulation, and share good examples of collaborations between science and industry. We will also share views on the health impacts of pesticides and other chemical products sprayed on agricultural crops. The discussion will follow a two-part structure – the first half will discuss the downsides of processed food and the second half will address potential solutions and best practices.

Food reformulation and related efforts to make the eating habits of Europe’s citizens healthier have been subject to intense discussions at EU level. Europe is challenged by the rise of obesity, increased alcohol consumption and prevalence of western diets. Lifelong digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affect more than one in ten people, and result in high losses of productivity, impacting our societies in terms of economics as well as health. How can we change food systems to produce high-quality and healthy processed food?

UEG EU Affairs
François Barry


T +32 2 645 79 91