Fabian Demicoli

EESC calls for an end to food waste in the EU

Food waste amounts to 89 million tonnes a year in the
EU, while 79 million EU citizens live below the poverty line. In its opinion on
Prevention and reduction of food waste,
adopted on 20 March 2013, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
calls on the European Commission to take steps to counter this dramatic trend
aggravated by the economic crisis.

"The situation is unacceptable. Sadly, the
current crisis has increased the number of people who depend on social
assistance but reduced the number of food banks, even though the need for them
has risen sharply. Paradoxically, up to 30% of food gets wasted in EU
households, supermarkets, restaurants and along the food supply chain each
year. We must take action to stop this", stated Yves Somville (Various
interests group, Belgium), rapporteur for the EESC opinion on Prevention and reduction of food waste.

The EESC calls for a coordinated strategy at European
level, combining EU-wide and national measures, to improve the efficiency of
the food supply and consumption chains and to tackle food wastage as a matter
of urgency. Preventing and reducing food waste is important not only in the
wider context of food security and resource efficiency: it is also a social

The EESC recommends developing platforms for
exchanging experience on combating food waste and passing on existing examples
of good practices: channelling products from the food retail and catering
sectors to food banks, initiatives on taxation, discharge of liability for
donors or removal of administrative constraints are a few actions already
successfully implemented in some EU countries and regions.

In the EESC's view, the prevention and reduction of
food losses and food waste must be given a key place on the political agenda.
Combating food waste is already a fully-fledged policy in some Member States
and regions. The EESC calls for it to be made an EU-wide policy. Some 79
million EU citizens live below the poverty line and 16 million depend on food
aid, while 30% of food (89 million tonnes per year) gets wasted.

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