Today the global epidemic has raised the public health problem to the top of the concerns of governments and citizens in a way that has never happened before.
The increased awareness of the importance of protecting collective health also passes through the relationship with food and not only in nutritional terms, but along the entire supply chain because the environmental and social sustainability of production is a path that begins in the field and reaches up to flat, and this is how, for example, the European Commission also tries to tackle it with the Farm to Fork strategy.
The approach must therefore be systemic and also in this sense the label that appears on the foods we buy can be a fundamental ally. A well-made label allows not only conscious choices to the consumer, but also brings them closer to the producer, allowing the latter to leave traces even in the final product of the production choices that characterize it.
The current labeling system is a complex and often little transparent tool for the consumer and tortuous for those who want to choose a sustainable production model. The label must give more information than is expected today: it leaves out many things and others are treated superficially or unclearly (often with incomprehensible acronyms). It does not provide information on producers, on the origin of the raw material, on the plant varieties and on the territories where they are grown, on the animal breeds bred, on the cultivation, breeding and processing techniques, on animal welfare. With the paradox that the healthiest and most authentic products are at risk of being penalized: their labels are legal but sparse. The confusion increases when advertising slogans evoke peasant worlds, alleged traditional techniques or references to ancient flavors light years away from the product in question. Therefore, all efforts are welcome to institutionalize and make mandatory as many elements as possible that enable the consumer to choose consciously.
The Narrante Label project launched years ago by Slow Food goes in this direction. Alongside the wordings indicated by law, a whole series of information is provided that takes into account what is behind a product – the origin, the history, the processing technique – and allows the consumer to understand if a food is produced in the respect for the environment and social justice. In addition, the bill proposed by Legambiente and Ciwf Italy for the pig sector that asks for the obligation to indicate the method of breeding on the label is also in recent days.
Tools like these can be the lever of change through food, because they have the power to affect the sphere of everyday life. And when food is increasingly perceived as a common good, the transition to a sustainable food system is increasingly necessary.