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EU actions against food waste

The European Commission is taking the issue of tackling food waste very seriously. Reducing food waste has enormous potential for reducing the resources we use to produce the food we eat. Being more efficient will save money and lower the environmental impact of food production and consumption.

Food waste prevention is an integral part of the Commission's new Circular Economy Package to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable growth and generate new jobs.

The Circular Economy Package consist of an EU Action Plan for the Circular Economypdf Choose translations of the previous link  and annex to the action planpdf Choose translations of the previous link  outlining the timetable for proposed actions, and related legislative proposals on waste including a revised proposed directive on wastepdf Choose translations of the previous link .

The EU and Member States are committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in September 2015, including a target to halve per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030, and reduce food losses along the food production and supply chains.

To support achievement of the SDG targets for food waste reduction in the EU, the Commission will:

  • elaborate a common EU methodology to measure food waste consistently in co-operation with Member States and stakeholders
  • create a new platform (EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste) involving both Member States and actors in the food chain in order to help define measures needed to achieve the food waste SDG, facilitate inter-sector co-operation, and share best practice and results achieved
  • take measures to clarify EU legislation related to waste, food and feed and facilitate food donation and the use of former foodstuffs and by-products from the food chain for feed production, without compromising food and feed safety
  • examine ways to improve the use of date marking by actors in the food chain and its understanding by consumers, in particular "best before" labelling.

In order to ensure that national food waste prevention programmes are informed by a solid evidence base and support sharing of innovation and best practice, the EU needs to augment and improve the quantification of food waste levels. The revised waste legislative proposal calls on Member States to take action to reduce food waste at each stage of the food supply chain, monitor food waste levels and report back regarding progress made.

Co-operation with EU member states and stakeholders

The Commission is analysing in close cooperation with industry, consumer and other NGOs, food sector experts and Member State policy experts how to reduce food waste without compromising food safety and is discussing options for possible EU actions.

Co-operation with Member States is facilitated through a dedicated Expert Group bringing together relevant national organisations to help the Commission and Member States to identify and prioritise actions to be taken at EU level in order to prevent food losses and food waste.

Co-operation with stakeholders is spearheaded through a Working Group on Food Losses and FoodWaste , which supports the Commission in sharing of best practices in food waste prevention and in identifying possible EU actions.

Raising awareness and exchanging good practices

The Commission is itself contributing to awareness raising on food waste prevention through production of communication materials available in all EU languages as well as compiling good practices on food waste prevention and reduction initiatives. Interested parties wishing to contribute to this effort may contact the Commission at: SANTE-FOOD-WASTE@ec.europa.eu