At present the EU produces 90 million tonnes of food waste each year and 50% of healthy and edible food is lost along the entire food supply chain.
Avoidable food waste is leading to mounting costs for consumers and the environment at a time when there are growing concerns for food security.
Speaking in Brussels this week, following a vote in the Agriculture Committee on “How to avoid food waste”, Liam Aylward MEP has fully endorsed the message agreed by the MEPs that there is a moral, environmental and economic imperative to tackle food waste across all stages of the food supply chain.
“Currently Irish consumers throw out 30% of food bought in supermarkets, at a cost to each household of €1000 each year. The Stop Food Waste, a programme developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also found that Irish restaurants bin €2.5 million worth of food each week.”
“In a time where food security is a growing problem we have a moral obligation to cut back on food waste and to make smart decisions as consumers, retailers and restaurateurs to purchase, consume and dispose of food responsibly.”
“Among the proposals we put forward was a call to amend 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.”
“The European Commission and Member States have also been urged to assess measures such as increasing consumer awareness about labelling and food expiration in terms of “best before”, ‘sell by” and “use by” labels, considering the options for the optimisation of food packaging and offering consumers a variety of portion sizes to cut down on the volumes of food that ends up in bins.”
“This issue has been neglected for far too long and this Report sends a strong signal that the EU, Member States and all actors in the food supply chain need to take action now.”
The vote on the final report by the European Parliament will take place in Strasbourg in December.