Commission launches EU food waste platform

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The European Commission launched an EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste yesterday (29 November), in a bid to improve communication between member states on work to tackle food waste.

The Platform, which will promote inter-sector cooperation and sharing of best practice, brings together Member State experts, EU bodies, international organisations and all actors across the food value chain.

It aims to support all actors in re-thinking the food value chain to facilitate a transition to a circular economy and more sustainable food systems.

Speaking at the launch meeting in Brussels yesterday (29 November), Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis announced that the Commission will also elaborate a common EU methodology to measure food waste consistently in cooperation with Member States and stakeholders.

Good practice

Andriukaitis said: “I am confident that this new Platform, which brings together both public and private interests, will allow many good practices like this one to emerge and help strengthen co-operation and accelerate our progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goal targets for food waste reduction in the EU – in particular to cut by 50% both retail and consumer food waste by 2030.”

He added: “The Platform will represent the cornerstone of the outlined strategy to fight food waste by providing advice, experience and expertise to the Commission and Member States with the view to improve the coherent implementation and application of EU legislation, programmes and policies.”

The Platform members, appointed for the term of the current Commission (until 31 November 2019) will meet on a regular basis, with two meetings are already planned for 2017.

Action

Setting out the key areas of future action on food waste, Mr Andriukaitis said that in order to ensure surplus food is easily made available to those in need, the Commission will develop – in co-operation with Member States and stakeholders – guidelines to facilitate food donation in the EU.

The new guidelines will clarify the food safety and food hygiene regulations with which food business operators must comply, as well as the fiscal rules applicable to food donation.

The Commission will also clarify and aim to lift barriers that prevent the safe use of food resources along the food and feed chain, such as food that is no longer marketed for human consumption but can be used as a resource for animal feed.

Andriukaitis said: “We need to ensure that such valorisation is not considered as “waste” anywhere in the EU and also ensure proper traceability of such food resources, so that they can be safely used in animal feed production.”

Finally, the Commission will examine ways to improve the use of date marking – “best before” and “use by” dates – in the food chain and improve understanding among consumers.

“The EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste brings together a wealth of broad expertise and experience from the scientific community, government, business and civil society,” Andriukaitis highlighted.

He added: “To fight food waste and promote the circular economy, we need to redesign our food supply chain, minimising waste and optimising resource use to generate value for consumers, producers and society.

“This requires a shared understanding of the issues at stake and close cooperation between all concerned to implement real and lasting change.”