Anna Maria Corazza Bildt: putting food on the EU agenda

Anna Maria Corazza Bildt: putting food on the EU agenda
With a five-year-old son who's allergic to peanuts, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt says her election platform has sprung from personal experiences at an unlikely place: the grocery store.

“My campaign has been focused on food,” Corazza Bildt says. “The information on packaging – if there’s nuts or not – it’s not labelled and you need glasses to see it. We need to take seriously the enormous power that EU Parliament has in legislation on food.”

She says if elected, she wants to make it a legal protocol that food packaging must be well-labelled if it contains additives, chemicals or peanuts. She says the use of colouring agents in food, particularly children’s food, must be decreased and restaurants should have healthier foods available.

“We need to produce industrialized food in a way that is healthy,” Corazza Bildt says. “For me, it has to do with the consumer’s freedom to choose what you want to eat and know what’s in it from reading the label. A lot of consumers tell me now they are confused. I try to be on the side of the consumer.”

She says that having grown up in Italy in a family that ran a business making Parma ham and Parma cheese, plus now owning her own food company, she has a strong knowledge and life experience working in the industry. She says consumers can often think they are buying foods from a certain region or country, for example, oil or cheese from Tuscany, but can be misinformed.

But product knowledge isn’t the only reason for changing eating habits.

“The four biggest sicknesses are related to what we eat: cancer, heart problems, diabetes and obesity,” explains Corazza Bildt. “It has an impact on our health and welfare, and we need to change from the inside. How we eat, how we move, what we breathe in, that’s all connected to European legislation.”

She says she is a strong candidate for election because of her European heritage and multi-cultural background. She has worked for the UN, focussed on development issues at the Italian foreign ministry, and spent time in war-torn countries Croatia and Sarajevo, where she met her husband, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

Because Corazza Bildt finds herself at number eight on the list of Moderate Party candidates, she says she is dependent on gaining votes as an individual candidate to win a seat.

“I am strong believer in the EU,” Corazza Bildt says. “I am very much in favour of Europe and democracy not only in Sweden, but everywhere in Europe and the world. The challenge in the EU Parliament is that we need to build an understanding of different cultures and traditions and ways of thinking.”

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