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EU criticised on food waste policy

Food waste 2000

The EU has been criticised for its efforts in tackling food waste, with experts saying its latest scheme falls short of providing a solution.

A report by the EU’s external auditor, the European Court of Auditors (ECA), says the EU has not combatted food waste effectively.

In November, the European Commission announced its EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste to help member states share expertise. It also unveiled plans for 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 response, UK anaerobic digestion company ReFood backed the scheme and urged the UK to maintain its collaboration with other EU member states on tackling food waste post-Brexit.

But the ECA has said the platform does not contribute significantly to food waste strategy, and that there remained no single, clear definition of food waste.

ECA member Bettina Jakobsen said: “Our report to the Commission identified a number of missed opportunities and potential improvements which would not require new legislative initiatives or more public money.

“But by focusing its efforts on establishing a platform, the Commission again misses an opportunity to deal effectively with the problem. What we need now is better alignment of existing policies, better co-ordination and a clear policy objective to reduce food waste.

“Our recommendations on how to develop future policy have either been ignored or only partially accepted, while the draft guidelines just pass the problem on to member states.”

The auditors recommend the Commission should:

  • Strengthen EU strategy to combat food waste and co-ordinate it better, with an action plan for the years ahead and a clear definition of food waste
  • Consider food waste in future impact assessments, and better align the different policies which can combat food waste
  • Identify and resolve legal obstacles to food donation, encourage the further use of existing donation possibilities and consider how to encourage donation in other policy areas

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