Brussels, 3 November 2023
Mrs. Stella Kyriakides
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety
Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski
Commissioner for Agriculture
Mr. Maroš Šefčovič
Commissioner for European Green Deal,
Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight
We are contacting you on behalf of PhageEU, a coalition of likeminded stakeholders who represent phages in industry, the scientific community and civil society. Our mission is to realize the full potential of phages in Europe.
During her State of the Union speech, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, has announced, that the Commission will launch a strategic dialogue on the future of agriculture in the EU. According to 2024 Commission work programme, this dialogue will engage farmers, stakeholders in the food chain and citizens working together on the transition towards sustainable food systems.
As the voice of phage community in the EU, we would like to express our strong interest in taking active part in this strategic dialogue. With this letter we would also like to draw your attention to the potential of phages with regards to transition towards sustainable food systems.
Bacteriophages are the most numerous organisms on the planet- they are everywhere in our environment and our microbiome. They protect animals and humans from bacteria as well as control the number of bacteria in the environment. As a result, phages can greatly contribute to achieving sustainable food systems while addressing antimicrobial resistance, reducing emissions from agricultural production, contributing to food security as well as improving farm animals’ health and welfare. While phages enable the removal of antibiotics from the food chain and reduction of AMR, as well as of livestock morbidity, they increase environmental sustainability and economic efficiency of the food systems.
The great potential of phages has been recognized by the European Parliament in its Resolution on EU Action to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance adopted on 1st June 2023. The European Parliament has recognized, that “bacteriophages have considerable potential to become an affordable and effective tool for bacterial control as a potential alternative to or complement for antibiotic therapy”. At this occasion MEPs have called to support research into alternative treatments, including bacteriophages and develop appropriate regulatory framework for registering bacteriophages both as feed additives and as veterinary medicinal products.
Taking the above into consideration we strongly believe, that phages should play their role in achieving fully sustainable food systems in Europe. Phages are contributing to achieving all sustainability objectives of “food system law” as specified by the Commission such as environmental, economic and social. They also greatly contribute to OneHealth approach.
Therefore, we call on the Commission services to engage with phage community within the framework of the strategic dialogue and to take into account the role of phages, while preparing any future legislative proposals, including for sustainable food systems.
PhageEU coalition stays at your disposal should you have any further comments or questions. You may contact our secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founding Members of PhageEU https://phageurope.eu
CEO Proteon Pharmaceuticals
CEO of JAFRAL
CSO of Phage Technology Center GmbH