‘EU generates 88m tonnes of food waste each year’

In the EU, around 88m tonnes of food waste are generated annually with related costs estimated at €143 billion, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis has said.

Speaking yesterday at the launch meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, Commissioner Andriukaitis said that 88m tonnes is a huge number.

“Even replacing it with elephants, airplanes or Eiffel Towers it remains just as incomprehensible.”

And while 20% of food produced in the EU is lost or wasted, at the same time 55m people are not able to afford a quality meal every second day.

“Not to mention animals slaughtered in vain or climate-changing CO2 emissions irretrievably emitted,” he said.

The EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste has been established by the Commission to lead EU efforts to fight food losses and waste from farm to fork and make solid progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste between now and 2030, according to Andriukaitis.

He said that this needless loss of precious natural and nutritional resources in the food value chain is unethical and immoral.

It is shameful to throw away food in the world where more than eight hundred million people go to bed hungry.

“It carries substantial environmental, economic and indeed -humanitarian consequences that are simply unacceptable.

“By clarifying and monitoring resource flows in the food value chain, including food waste, we can help to identify input materials for other industrial uses, thereby promoting bio-economy.

“Social innovation initiatives – aiming for instance to facilitate the use and re-use of surplus food – create new business models and job opportunities to address new needs and service requirements.”

Who is responsible?

Commissioner Andriukaitis said that we are all responsible for food waste.

“Every person – and every country— needs to minimize food waste as part of the fight against poverty and hunger.

“Fighting food waste requires us to “rethink” collectively how we produce, market, distribute and consume food.

“We all can do our part – as individuals at home; as stakeholders – retailers, producers, restaurant owners, farmers or community leaders – we can all contribute to reducing this enormous problem.”

Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste

The new Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste bringing together Member State experts, EU bodies, international organisations and all actors across the food value chain including Non-Governmental Organisations, the Commissioner said.

He said that this platform will help the EU to define the measures needed to achieve the food waste Sustainable Development Goals.

In fact, it aims to help the EU get there faster by:

  • Facilitating inter-sector co-operation;
  • Sharing best practices and results; and
  • Evaluating progress made over time.

Other Sustainable Development Goals include zero hunger, good health and well-being, and life on land among others.

“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,” he said.