Currently making its rounds on social media is a tweet that has been shared over 4,000 times claiming that the European Union has asked people to “stop eating breakfast to help preserve the environment”, including a quotation that says “Breakfast is NOT necessary” and a photo of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
This claim is FALSE. There is no proof that the Commission, its president or any other EU organisation has asked the people of European to avoid eating breakfast in order to help preserve the environment. The press department of the EC has also denied to Verificat that the EU’s executive body made such statements. Yannis Virvilis, Head of Press, Commission Representation in Spain, refutes this hoax in a tweet: “The Commission is in favour of promoting a healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet and exercise, which are essential to preventing diseases”.
“The EU is asking people to stop eating breakfast to help preserve the environment”
The Twitter account that parroted this alleged piece of news without providing any sources is El Puntual 24H, an account primarily aimed at spreading false rumours that Verificat has previously refuted. A search in the European Commission archive, both in English and in Spanish, did not yield a single result that mentions the necessity of taking this measure.
A search on Twitter for the terms “European Union” and “breakfast”, “EU” and “breakfast” and “Ursula von der Leyen” and “breakfast” (in both Spanish and English) did not yield results with articles, declarations or tweets indicating that the European authorities had stated anything on this issue at any time. In fact, many of the results are quotes or comments related to the aforementioned original tweet that spread the rumour.
The tweet was posted a few days after the publication of an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “To Save Money, Maybe You Should Skip Breakfast”. The article analyses the recent price increases of typical breakfast foods, but it does not mention the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen or even recommend that anyone stop eating breakfast, although the headline gives a misleading idea of the actual content of the article, which got a lot of flak on Twitter. The article is blocked by a paywall and without a subscription it is impossible to know exactly what it said.
Food and disinformation
The European Union is considering the debate about the way our diet impacts the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions, although it does not mean that its organisations have stated they are in favour of skipping meals or forcing the public to eat certain foods. A few weeks ago, for instance, we showed that Europeans are not going to be forced to eat insects as a method for mitigating climate change.
Due to the debates about the fact that commonly consumed products, such as meat or dairy, have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions, food is becoming an increasingly prevalent topic among people propagating disinformation about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda.
That is why the United Nations recommend “shifting food systems towards plant-rich diets – with more plant protein (such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, and grains), a reduced amount of animal-based foods (meat and dairy) and less saturated fats (butter, milk, cheese, meat, coconut oil and palm oil)”, which “can lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions”. This recommendation, however, is far from being an obligation.
We are a team of young journalists from Barcelona who work independently to combat misinformation in our territory and beyond. We rely on facts and data to verify what politicians say and the falsehoods circulating on social media.
We need you. With your contribution, you will contribute to a healthier political debate and help promote educational projects to teach citizens how to navigate information chaos and defend themselves against misinformation.
You can contribute as much as one euro and it won't take you more than 45 seconds (we've counted them). If you can, please mark your contribution as monthly and so we can continue to do our job rigorously and independently. Thank you so much.Donate