On Saturday, October 24, at Expo, Roberto Maroni, President of the Lombardy Region unveiled an Action Plan – drawn up in collaboration with The European House – Ambrosetti – containing concrete initiatives for an effective fight against the phenomenon of food fraud.
The agri-food system is facing huge global challenges: There are 800 million people suffering from hunger throughout the world and yet 2 billion people are overweight or obese, and whilst there are 160 million children suffering from malnutrition on this planet, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is going to waste. In addition to these paradoxes, there are also other pressures on the agri-food system: in 2050 our planet will find itself having to cope with the needs of an additional 2.3 billion people, and this will require a 60% increase in agri-food production.
Responding to these challenges will need us to balance two perspectives: the availability of food and the quality and safety of the food itself. The fight against food fraud and food safety are therefore becoming the issues on which it is now necessary to focus our energies: it is for this very reason that the Lombardy Region – in collaboration with The European House – Ambrosetti – decided to make them the central themes of the closing event of Expo Milano 2015, which took place on Saturday, October 24, in the Auditorium of the Italian Pavilion at Expo.
The phenomenon of food fraud is one of the main threats to the existence of local agri-food systems and the expression of their full potential. It is estimated that the total value of fraudulent and Italian sounding foods, just for our country alone, comes to €60 billion. The results that could be achieved by the fight against food fraud are staggering: every billion euro less of food fraud and Italian sounding brand names could result in 3,200 more jobs in Italy, whereas a 10% reduction in the value of food fraud and Italian sounding products could result in the Italian agri-food trade balance, which currently has a deficit of €6 billion, breaking even: (source: The European House – Ambrosetti re-elaboration of data from the Ministry of Economic Development, Federalimentare and Eurostat).
“The Lombardy Region is leading the fight against food fraud, which every year causes serious economic damage to Italian companies and produces grave health risks” said Roberto Maroni, President of the Lombardy Region. “It is for this reason that the Lombardy Region, together with The European House – Ambrosetti, has put together an Action Plan for combating this phenomenon”, he went on. “Lombardy, Italy’s largest agricultural region and Europe’s second largest, has taken it upon itself to lead the way on this issue, both domestically and internationally, and our anti-food fraud paper has been included as one of the main contents of the the Milan Charter, which has been delivered to the United Nations. We want our Action Plan to remain as a legacy of Expo Milano 2015, because our aim is to protect the health of individuals and Italian made products, guaranteeing everyone not just access to food, but to food that is healthy and safe.”
Partner, The European House - Ambrosetti