Scrap the CAP, says Which?Common Agricultural Policy reform lets consumers down

12 October 2011

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Scrap the CAP, says Which?

As the European Commission publishes its proposals for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is due to be reformed by the end of 2013, Which? calls for the CAP to be scrapped and an EU food strategy to take its place.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said 'This is an archaic policy, which all consumers pay for through taxes and higher food prices. It's all the harder to justify at a time of soaring household bills and falling disposable incomes.'

Which? would like to see a new European policy that meets consumers' needs for safe, nutritious affordable food, of the quality people expect.

We need a policy that gives greater consideration to consumer interests, including healthy eating and sustainability.

EU food strategy

The CAP is the single largest common policy across the EU. The objectives are to:

  • increase agricultural productivity
  • ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community
  • stabilise markets
  • assure the availability of supplies
  • ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.

The policy has an impact on the types and balance of food that is produced in EU countries, the methods of production, quality and how much we pay. 

Richard Lloyd said: 'The food supply chain is facing unprecedented challenges including rising food prices and tackling problems of food security, with enormous implications for consumers.'

Government criticism

The government has also criticised the policy. Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said the proposals 'don't go far enough'.

Which? has lobbied for ambitious reforms of the CAP in recent years and has called for the policy to be scrapped and replaced with a consumer-driven food policy. We will continue to lobby on the issue until we see change.

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