Food safety debate with Minister Otte-Kinast

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Nutrition debate: Minister of Agriculture of Lower Saxony Otte-Kinast in Esebeck

Esbeck.Participants in a panel discussion of the city association CDU Göttingen answered the question “How safe is our diet?”. The panel was attended by Barbara Otte-Kinast (CDU), Lower Saxony’s Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, her Secretary of State, Prof. Ludwig Theuvsen, Peter Wogenstein, spokesperson for the Lower Saxony Nutrition Council, and Markus Gerhardy, President of the Göttinger Landvolk. Carina Hermann, candidate for state parliament from the CDU Göttingen, moderated the event.

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The issue of food safety in Germany was discussed especially in the context of the war in Ukraine. The discussion also revolved around the issues of structural change, consumption behavior of the population and regulation of agriculture by the State.

Counter dependencies through regionality

Otte-Kinast confirmed: “Our food supply in Germany is secure,” because global trade means there are other grain-for-grain sources besides Ukraine. At the same time, the closure of the “barn” due to the war also revealed dependencies, for example, on organic chicken feed from Ukraine.

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However, the Russian war of aggression has implications for food security in other parts of the world. “We will have grain in Europe, but it could be scarce in African countries,” Otte-Kinast said. It was unclear which of the 55 states on the African continent he was referring to.

Both Gerhardy and Wogenstein called for more regionality in food production and processing. According to Gerhardy, southern Lower Saxony has lost processing capacities in the food value chain. Its regionally produced malting barley must be malted in Bavaria.

Small businesses are taken over by large

Structural change in agriculture favors the “disappearance of the little ones”, according to Theuvsen. Bakery and butcher chains have long since taken over most regional businesses.

According to Theuvsen, one problem is that small farms have to follow the same rules as large companies. The fact that politicians have “tightened the nuts” here creates much greater cost pressure. In particular, the obligation to provide complete documentation makes things difficult for small businesses.

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Individual responsibility or task of politics?

The consumption behavior of the population was also discussed. Theuvsen said he sees it as a job for politicians to set a framework for purchasing decisions. Gerhardy and Otte-Kinast, on the other hand, advocated personal responsibility. The minister called for proper labels for food produced in the region. In this way, people could deliberately reach for the product from the surrounding area when shopping.

When asked about his perspective on organic farming, Otte-Kinast said, “There will always be conventional farming, because otherwise we couldn’t feed the world’s population.” . Especially people with low incomes for expensive organic produce should think about eating potatoes with cottage cheese, he said.

In the question and answer session that followed, it became clear that the audience was mainly made up of farmers. Some students were also present.

By Janika Sorensen

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