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Food Safety

Food Waste – communication materials

The Commission has prepared communication materials in all languages related to food waste reduction.

Good practices

The Commission supports the exchange of best practices in food waste prevention through the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste and its...

Resources library

Dissemination of information is very important in the Commission's approach to tackling food waste in co-operation with the EU countries and...

International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

The European Commission joins FAO and other relevant organisations in the global call to action against food loss and waste.

EU Food Loss and Waste Prevention Hub

Join a growing community of experts and practitioners working to prevent and reduce food losses and food waste!

About Food Waste

In the EU, around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually with associated costs estimated at 143 billion euros (FUSIONS, 2016). While an estimated 20% of the total food produced is lost or wasted, 33 million people cannot afford a quality meal every second day (Eurostat, 2018).

Globally, approximately a third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted (FAO, 2011). FAO’s Food Loss Index (FLI) estimates that globally, around 14 percent of all food produced is lost from the post-harvest stage up to, but excluding, the retail stage (FAO, 2019).

According to the UNEP Food Waste Index 2021, around 931 million tonnes of food waste were generated in 2019 – 61% of which came from households, 26% from food service and 13% from retail. Similarly, in the EU, households generate more than half of the total food waste in the EU (47 million tonnes) with 70% of food waste arising at household, food service and retail (FUSIONS, 2016).

Wasting food is not only an ethical and economic issue but it also depletes the environment of limited natural resources. The EU is committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 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. By reducing food losses and waste to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals, we can also:

  • support the fight against climate change (food waste alone generates 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions (UNEP Food Waste Index 2021))
  • save nutritious food for redistribution to those in need, helping to eradicate hunger and malnutrition
  • save money for farmers, companies and households

The central goal of EU food safety policy is to protect both human and animal health. We cannot compromise on these standards but, in co-operation with Member States and stakeholders, are looking for every opportunity to prevent food waste and strengthen sustainability of the food system.

The Commission’s food waste webpages provide: