The European Commission has underlined its commitment to tackling the issue of sustainability throughout the food supply chain and, in particular, reducing food waste. It reiterated the need for action on food waste to mark the annual World Food Day on 16 October, which this year focused on ‘Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition’. The Commission said it was an occasion to remind ourselves that around a third of food is wasted globally, amounting to 1.3 billion tons per year according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Read more…
World Food Day, which was conceived by the FAO, aims to increase understanding of food waste problems and solutions in the drive to end world hunger. In Europe, approximately 90 million tonnes of food are wasted annually along the entire food chain, not including agricultural food waste and fish discards. The reasons for this are varied and sector-specific. For example, a lack of shopping planning contributes to wastage in the household sector, and market strategies and inefficiencies in stock management lead to unnecessary purchases in retail. Over-production of food and inadequacies in packaging and storage also contribute to waste.
On the occasion of the World Food Day the European Commissioner for Environment, Janez Potočnik, said the EU had set itself an “ambitious” target to halve the disposal of edible food waste in the EU by 2020. The Commission is collaborating with stakeholders, experts and Member States to analyse how to reduce food waste without compromising food safety. A wide range of topics is being addressed by the Commission’s Working Group on Food Waste including donation of surplus food to food banks, date labelling, and short food supply chains.
The ‘Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe’ identifies food as a key sector where resource efficiency should be improved. Following up on this Roadmap and public consultation on sustainable food, the Commission is now examining how the concept of resource efficiency can be better applied to the production and consumption of food, while focussing on avoiding food waste. A sustainable food initiative is expected in the coming months.
Find more info:
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation: World Food Day website.