Assessing the role of CAP for more sustainable and healthier food systems in Europe: A literature review

F Recanati, Chris Maughan, M Pedrotti, K Dembska, M Antonelli

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    60 Citations (Scopus)
    157 Downloads (Pure)


    Today, the European food system is characterized by unhealthy dietary trends, environmentally unsustainable production, and a dependency on an ageing farming population. The ongoing reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) represents an opportunity to redress these issues. This literature review highlights trends in how academic and grey literature have received CAP attempts in addressing the (i) environmental issues, (ii) nutritional outcomes, and (iii) rural livelihoods. Additionally, future policy and research directions relating to the CAP have been identified from the selected literature. The reviewed literature varies in approach and perspective. In particular, since the environment and rural development are already part of the CAP, the reviewed studies analyze and propose improvements to existing mechanisms. While for nutrition, the reviewed studies assessed possible policy strategies for integrating this sphere within the CAP, highlighting both the complexity of this task as well as its potential benefits. Despite these differences, a clear commonality emerged from the policy recommendations: the CAP should promote the European Union (EU) policy integration and multi-disciplinary and participatory research as key strategies to meet food system sustainability targets.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)908-919
    Number of pages12
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Early online date30 Oct 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Open Access: Under a Creative Commons license.
    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Common Agricultural Policy
    • Environment
    • European Union
    • Nutrition
    • Rural livelihoods
    • SDGs

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Engineering
    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Waste Management and Disposal
    • Pollution


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