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European Commission Daily News 23rd Ma

Dual food quality: Commission releases study on sensory differences in food products

Today, the Commission published the results of the second part of an EU-wide quality comparison of food products marketed under the same branding, a study conducted by the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The first part of the study, published in 2019, focused on differences in composition of food products. It found differences – for about one-third of products tested – not immediately apparent from the front-of-pack information, but from the ingredients. The aim of the second part of the study, presented today, was to find out if these compositional differences can be perceived by human senses. Today’s findings did not alter what the first part of the study found: differences in food products did not follow a geographical pattern. At the same time, the results presented today demonstrate that sensory differences are clearly noticeable, where there are large differences in product composition. For example, significant differences in sugar content in breakfast cereals can be perceived influencing the overall sweetness of the product. By contrast, when compositional differences were small, experts could not perceive them, for example, smaller variations in fat content in potato crisps. Overall, sensory differences were found in 10 out of the 20 products tested. For more information, a press release is available on line. 

Biodiversity: Commission launches virtual Pollinator Park

Pollinator Park is an interactive digital tool to raise awareness about the alarming decline of pollinators and mobilise global action to address it. Conceived as part of the EU Pollinators Initiative, Pollinator Park should raise awareness, engage society at large and promote collaboration on wild pollinators. It helps ongoing European Green Deal efforts to address the nature and pollinator crises, notably as highlighted in the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the Farm to Fork Strategy. In particular, members of the EU’s Global Coalition “United for Biodiversity” are invited to use Pollinator Park as part of their own campaigns around biodiversity loss ahead of the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CoP 15) later this year. Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “The alarming decline of insects that pollinate crops and wild plants puts food security at risk and threatens our survival. The EU is already working hard to reverse the loss of pollinators with the European Green Deal, but we need a broad effort across the society, with contributions from scientists and experts, businesses and citizens. Pollinator Park aims to show the dangers of ‘business as usual’, inviting us all to strengthen our efforts to protect pollinators and ensure a better future for ourselves and future generations.” Designed in collaboration with world-renowned ‘archibiotect’ Vincent Callebaut, Pollinator Park offers a glimpse of the bleak future that awaits unless we radically change our relationship to nature. Publicly available as a web version and in virtual reality, it invites visitors to learn about pollinators, try their hand at pollination, shop for groceries in a pollinator-deprived world, and find out how they can help avoid this possible future. This new initiative attempts to harness the power of the fastest-growing media platform in the world – the world’s two billion video gamers – and thus targets younger generations in particular. The Commission is currently reviewing the EU Pollinators Initiative, with a view to further strengthening actions to reverse the decline of these precious insects and a public consultation is foreseen during the second half of this year. The Zero Pollution Action Plan expected in the following months is also going to make significant contributions to halt and reverse the loss of pollinators. More information is in the news release. Visit the Pollinator Park here

President von der Leyen, Executive Vice-Presidents Timmermans and Dombrovskis and Commissioner McGuiness take part in Investing in Climate Action event

The make-or-break decade for our planet has begun. In an event co-hosted with the European Investment Bank, the President and other College members will discuss the steps to be taken between now and 2030 to avert the most devastating effects of climate change. If we act in the right way, this undertaking will yield high returns: a sustainable and resilient economy that delivers prosperity, fairness, and quality of life for all. The climate challenge demands determined action and significant investment – going far beyond current levels. But the costs of not acting will be far greater. The Investing in Climate Action conference will discuss how public and private investment mechanisms can be used to achieve a just transition to a “net-zero” emissions economy, both in the European Union and around the world.  President von der Leyen, Executive Vice-Presidents Timmermans and Dombrovskis, and Commissioner McGuiness will deliver keynote speeches, which you can watch live on EbS. You can find the full agenda of the event here and read President von der Leyen and EIB President Hoyer’s joint op-ed here

Read the European Commission Daily News in full here.

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