EU Parliament calls for food wastage regulatory review by Member States

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 23rd January 2012
The European Parliament has called on member states to take urgent policies and strategic measures to halve food waste in the European Union (EU) by 2025.The call coincides with the release of figures from the European Commission, indicating  that up to 50 per cent of food is wasted in the European Union each year.

According to the European Commission, 79 million EU citizens currently live below the poverty line, with 16 million depending on food benefits and aids from charitable institutions.

MEPs call for ‘co-ordinated strategy’

MEPs are calling for a ‘co-ordinated strategy’ combining EU-wide and national measures to improve the efficiency of food supply and consumption chains, on a sector-by-sector approach. Proposals from the European Parliament include:

  • Member States introducing school and college courses explaining how to store, cook and dispose of food and also exchange best practices to this end
  • 2014 to be designated as “European year against food waste”
  • Dual-date food package labelling to show sell-by dates and use-by dates to avoid situations in which retailers offer food too close to its expiry date and thus increase the potential for wastage
  • Public procurement rules should be updated to ensure that where possible, contracts are awarded to catering companies that use local produce and give away or redistribute leftover food to poorer people or food banks free of charge, rather than disposing of it.

According to the European Commission’s figures, households are currently responsible for 42 per cent of food wastage in the EU, whilst manufacturers are responsible for 39 per cent, the catering sector 14 per cent, and retailers being responsible for 5 per cent of total food wastage in the EU.

The European Union current wastage is currently calculated to be 89 million tonnes per annum, of 179kg per capita. It is believed that the 89 million tonnes could rise to 126 million tonnes by 2020, if no actions are taken.