The European Parliament is seeking to set a target to halve food waste by 2025. At present the EU produces 90 million tonnes of food waste each year and avoidable food waste is leading to mounting costs for consumers and the environment.

Speaking at the first exchange of views on formulating a policy on combating food waste within the food supply chain, Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and shadow Rapporteur (author) of the Report highlighted that:

“50% of healthy and edible food is lost along the entire food supply chain. At a time when food security concerns are mounting and the cost of food is rising for consumers this is an unacceptable waste”

“The majority of people think of food waste as the food and leftovers that go in the rubbish bin at end of the meal – however it is clear that food waste occurs in unacceptable quantities at each stage of the food supply chain and wastage by consumers is only the tip of the iceberg.”

In Ireland 1 million tonnes of waste are generated each year, with Irish households alone generating 292, 326 tonnes of food waste annually and 465,946 tonnes of waste produced by the manufacturing sector.

The Parliament Report proposes to introduce education and awareness raising campaigns and to designate 2013 as the European Year against Food Waste. The Report also recommends looking at amending public procurement rules so that contracts are awarded to caterers that will redistribute for free any unallocated/unsold items to vulnerable groups and reduce the food waste generated.

Speaking on the Report’s recommendations, the Ireland East MEP stated,

At a time when budgets are being cut, services in Ireland such as the HSE, public bodies, the catering industry and retailers should look toward cutting food waste. A review of public procurement rules in relation to policy on food waste and redistribution and the wasting of food within State service providers overall would be a welcome first step and could deliver immediate cost saving results.”

The “Avoiding Food Waste” Report will be debated and voted upon in the Agriculture Committee in the autumn.