HomeProgressBeating Cancer Plan. At the index pesticides, toxic chemicals, alcohol, junk-food

Beating Cancer Plan. At the index pesticides, toxic chemicals, alcohol, junk-food

Pesticides and other toxic chemicals, alcohol e junk food are put on the index in the report of the Special Commission of the European Parliament for the fight against cancer in Beating Cancer Plan (BECA), to vote in the plenary assembly in Strasbourg on 15.2.22. (1)

Civil society organizations - on the occasion of World Cancer Day, 4.2.22 - have addressed a heartfelt appeal to the MEPs, to which we join. So that cancer prevention can be translated into binding rules, without compromising on health. (2)

1) Cancer in Europe, scenario

1,3 million people - including 6.000 children and adolescents - die each year from cancer in Europe. Where cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children and the second leading cause of premature mortality, after cardiovascular disease, in adults. We need timely diagnosis, effective, innovative and differentiated cures and treatments for children, as well as accessible and affordable. And adequate social support for the more than 12 million survivors and their families.

Prevention it is the first tool to invest in, the best of care. It is estimated that it can almost halve (-40%) the occurrence of cancer in Europe. It is therefore necessary to reduce environmental pollution, to which the European Environment Agency (EEA) attributed 250 deaths from cancer in 2016. And above all exposure to toxic chemicals and endocrine disruptors, which add to the damage of cancer the tragedies of developmental delays and neuro-behavioral diseases.

2) Beating Cancer Plan (BECA)

2.1) Political context

The EU Action Plan 'on strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer, towards a global and coordinated strategy'is presented by Special Committee on Beating Cancer in a draft resolution of the European Parliament which refers to a wide range of initiatives in the introduction. These include:

- European Green Deal, adopted in Brussels on 14.11.19,

- Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, communicated on 3.2.21 by the European Commission, (3)

- Horizon europe, the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation 2021-2027, (4)

- Farm to Fork, EU strategy presented in Brussels on 20.5.20,

- EU action plan 'towards zero pollution for air, water and soil', 12.5.21 (COM/2021/400 end),

- 'access to medicines and medical devices for a stronger and more resilient EU', Council conclusions 15.6.21. (5)

2.2) Pesticides and toxic chemicals

Pesticides e toxic chemicals are recalled in the resolution 20.10.21 of the European Parliament on strategy Farm to Fork, as regards the risks associated with exposure to agrochemicals. Besides in the works on:

- 'carcinogens and mutagens directive', now under review with a vote in the EMPL Commission of the European Parliament and possible definition on 14.2.22, (6)

- 'Healthy environment, healthy lives: how the environment influences health and well-being in Europe’, 21/2019 ratio of European Environment Agency (EEA),

- EU strategic framework 2021-2027 'in the field of health and safety in the workplace', 20.6.21,

2.3) Alcohol

WHO Europe - in its recommendations on the prevention of diseases related to alcohol consumption (2020) - recalled how it is responsible for about 180 cancer diagnoses and 92 premature deaths every year in the European macro-region, first in the world for consumption levels per capita (9,8 liters of pure alcohol / year, 2018 data). And alcohol consumption is directly associated with a higher prevalence of a causal role in different types of cancer. (7)

Epidemiological research on alcohol and cancer, in recent years, it has come to show that ethanol causes irreversible damage to DNA, even with low levels of consumption. And the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) has shown how it represents, in France, the second risk factor for cancer after tobacco. But the awareness of the its impact on health, on the part of consumers, is still very scarce.

3) Areas of action

The EFSA and ECDC's One Health report of Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA), established in the European Parliament on 27.10.20, indicates different areas of action. We focus on those relating to prevention.

3.1) Cancer prevention in EU policies

Prevention must be included cancer in every European policy, in the light of the continuous evolution of scientific research that must be encouraged with various funds, including 'Science and Policy for a Healthy Future'- HBM4EU). We focus on:

- tobacco. It is by far the leading preventable cause of cancer in the EU, accounting for 15-20% of cancer cases and the leading risk factor for cancer death in Europe (27%, 700 deaths per year). therefore favor a Tobacco Free Environment for the new generations.

- alcohol. In turn, it causes 10% of all cancers in men, 3% in women. The ethanol and acetaldehyde that derive from the metabolism of ethanol in alcoholic beverages are in fact classified by IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) as carcinogens,

- junk-food. Excessive servings of ultraprocessed foods with unbalanced nutritional profiles are the main causes of obesity, overweight and related diseases which among other things increase the risk of developing cancer.

3.2) Alcoholic beverages and junk food, labeling and restrictions al marketing

The BECA report - entrusted to a liberal oncologist doctor, Hon. Véronique Trillet-Lenoi - urges the European Commission to take effective action on labeling and restrictions on marketing of alcoholic beverages and junk food, in the following terms:

- ingredients list, mandatory nutrition declaration e warning labels on alcoholic beverages (> 1,2% alc. vol.). The digital label can be added but cannot replace the physical one. (8) The EU Alcohol Strategy and introduce a Zero Alcohol Strategy for minors. Alcohol sponsors must therefore be prohibited at public and sporting events attended mainly by minors, who must be protected from alcohol advertisements even in Audiovisual Media Service Directive (EU directive 2018/1808),

- mandatory nutritional labeling on the front of the label (Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling, FOPNL) of packaged foods. The BECA Commission reiterates what it had already expressed in the plenary assembly on 20.10.21, in the vote on the strategy Farm to Fork. (9) It is necessary to introduce an effective FOLP system, as has already proved to be the NutriScore. junk food (High in Fats, Sugar and Sodium, HFSS) must then be subjected to severe restrictions of marketing which include the ban on social media advertising.

4) The support of civil society

Organizations of civil society, in the joint letter 4.2.22, urge MEPs to have courage in affirming the prevalence of public health over the particular interests of LOBBY industries responsible for cancer and other serious diseases (NCD, Non-Communicable Diseases) which can be drastically reduced with responsible policy.

Any self-regulatory initiative has failed, one out of all the EU Platform for (In-) Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health in which many had believed, at the dawn of the new Millennium. And the marketing predatory towards minors, already reported by Unicef ​​(2019), must be blocked with exemplary sanctions against its clients (10,11).

People over Profit, will it ever be possible?

Dario Dongo

Footnotes

(1) Special Committee on Beating Cancer. Report on strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer - towards a comprehensive and coordinated strategy (2020/2267 (INI)). Speaker Hon. Véronique Trillet-Lenoi (France, La Républic En Marche !, Renew Europe Group). https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-9-2022-0001_EN.html

(2) Please protect the strength of BECA's cross party consensus on cancer prevention during the plenary vote on the BECA report. joint letter. 4.2.22, https://www.safefoodadvocacy.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Joint-letter-to-MEPs_BECA-report-04.02.2022-1.pdf

(3) European Commission. Europe's Beating Cancer Plan. European plan for the fight against cancer (COM / 2021/44 final). 3.2.21, https://bit.ly/3goxshp

(4) EU Reg. 2021/695, establishing the Horizon Europe research and innovation framework program and establishing the rules for participation and dissemination. https://bit.ly/3B2EVvO

(5) Council Conclusions on Access to medicines and medical devices for a Stronger and Resilient EU (2021 / C 269 I / 02). https://bit.ly/3rv1pTc

(6) Directive 2004/37 / EC, on the protection of workers against the risks deriving from exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work. Updates on https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2020/0262(COD)&l=en

(7) WHO Regional Office for Europe (2020). Alcohol and cancer in the WHO European Region: an appeal for better prevention. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/336595/WHO-EURO-2020-1435-41185-56004-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

(8) Marta Strinati. Labeling of alcoholic beverages, work in progress in Brussels. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade).
5.10.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/etichettatura-delle-bevande-alcoliche-lavori-in-corso-a-bruxelles

(9) Dario Dongo. Farm to Fork, Nutri-Score and product reformulation. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 25.10.21/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/farm-to-fork-nutri-score-e-riformulazione-dei-prodotti

(10) Dario Dongo, Selena Travaglio. Influencer marketing, what rules? GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 23.7.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/influencer-marketing-quali-regole

(11) Dario Dongo. Influencer marketing, our report to the Antitrust. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 25.7.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/influencer-marketing-la-nostra-segnalazione-all-antitrust

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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