Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East and co-negotiator of the European Parliament’s Report on ‘Tackling Food Waste’ earlier this year, has strongly welcomed this week’s breakthrough decision of major European retailers to cut food waste along the supply chain and reduce the environmental footprint of their products.

“I strongly commend the European Retail Round Table for building on the work of the European Parliament in a meaningful way in terms of tackling food waste.  At present the EU produces 90 million tonnes of food waste each year and Irish consumers alone throw out 30% of food bought in supermarkets, at a cost to each household of €1000 each year. “

The joint voluntary initiative of Europe’s major retailers sees them pledge to cut food waste and run awareness campaigns to make consumers aware that 50% of healthy and edible food is lost along the entire food supply chain each year.

The Ireland East MEP, who co-authored the European Parliament’s Report on Food Waste, highlights that there is a moral obligation among producers, retailers and consumers to tackle food waste given that 79 million EU citizens live beneath the poverty line and 16 million currently depend on food aid from charitable institutions in order to survive.

“There are over 850 million people in the developing world currently suffering from chronic undernourishment; food waste at the level we are currently tolerating is unacceptable and immoral.  The actions of the Retailers in taking steps to begin to address this problem are welcome but more needs to be done across the entire food supply chain if the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing by half the share of hungry people in the developing world by 2015 is to be reached.”

The Chief of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) held several key meetings with the European Commissioners for Agriculture, Development and Trade this week to highlight the findings of the newly published UN Hunger Report and according to the Ireland East MEP, these meetings signal that addressing food waste is firmly on the agenda for the EU and the international community.