Covid-19 pandemic has ‘proven the importance of sustainable food systems’

For the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, has a simple message: “We need to do more.”

Today (Tuesday, September 29) has been designated by the UN as a day to bring attention to the “need to redesign our food systems”.

The EU hopes that through its Farm to Fork Strategy, there will be a transition to a “sustainable food system that ensures food security and access to healthy food from a healthy planet”.

Commissioner Kyriakides said:

“In the EU, it is estimated that 20% of all food we produce is lost or wasted yet, at the same time, 33 million people cannot afford a quality meal every second day.

There is no excuse for food waste: it leaves the most vulnerable citizens exposed; it is detrimental to the environment; and it has huge economic cost. Surplus food should feed people who need it, not go in the bin.

“We urgently need to redesign our food systems. This year, Covid-19 has not only forced us to rethink our way of life and adapt to new realities.

“The pandemic has also proven the importance of sustainable food systems, from how we produce and process food, to the supply chains that bring it to our homes.”

The commissioner said that the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste has developed guidelines on food donation and the safe reuse of otherwise unusable food for animal feed.

Ireland’s national waste action plan

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has said that his department is working closely on the Waste Action Plan for A Circular Economy – Ireland’s National Waste Policy 2020 – 2025, launched by the Department of Climate Action.

According to Minister McConalogue, some of the actions his department are taking include: funding through the Rural Innovation and Development Fund to support “innovative rural projects aimed at food waste reduction”; support for research into food shelf life through the Prepared Consumer Food Centre at Teagasc Ashtown; and initiatives by Bord Bia under Origin Green.