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Commission pledges to lift food redistribution barriers

The European Commission plans a common methodology to measure food waste as a step towards meeting the UN’s sustainable development goal of halving such waste by 2030.

In the EU, around 88 million tonnes of food waste is generated annually, about 20% of all food produced.

The Commission’s circular economy package, published in December, requires member states to reduce food waste at each stage of the food supply chain (including households), monitor food waste levels and report back on progress.

Now food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis has announced further actions, including a common methodology to measure food waste. Other measures will be:

  • Guidelines to facilitate food donation in the EU, clarifying the safety and hygiene regulations with which food business operators must comply, as well as the fiscal rules applicable to food donation
  • Clarifying and lifting barriers to some unsold foods such as bread and biscuits from being redistributed
  • Examining ways to improve the use of date marking in the food chain and its understanding by consumers

Andriukaitis also announced the launch of the Commission’s EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste to help member states share expertise.

He said: “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.

“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 co-operation between all concerned to implement real and lasting change.”

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