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EU: targets to reduce food waste
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Food waste is a huge squandering of resources and money. The European Parliament is advocating financial support for donating food instead of throwing it away and wants to create greater awareness of how long food is safe to eat. The aim is to halve food waste in the EU by 2030.
This initiative is contained in a report on food safety - “Resource efficiency: reducing food waste, improving food safety” (16.05,2017) - and in a European Parliament press release in which they call for tax exemption on food donations. The aim is to encourage supermarkets and restaurants to donate any food they cannot sell, explains Martin Häusling,the spokesperson of the Greens for agricultural and environmental policy.
MEPs also want people to prevent food waste and save money by a better understanding of the “use by” and “best before” dates on packaging. Häusling calls it an ecological, economic and human disaster: in the EU an estimated 88 million tonnes of food worth 143 billion euros are thrown away every year. The top priority has to be reducing and avoiding food waste. In his view, as long as our food is so cheap that its true value is not appreciated it will continue to be thrown away on a massive scale.
In order to tackle this problem he advocates a change in the food chain from farmer to consumer. Retail must take more responsibility - for example, by informing consumers that food can usually still eaten after the “best before” date has expired. The report says that there has to be a change in the way people think about food. Consumers who are well informed and sensitive to the issue are the key to solving this problem.