EU commissioner outlines plan to fight 'unethical and immoral' food waste crisis
- During a speech at a meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said he wants the European Union to be the "region leading global efforts to fight food waste" by the end of his term in 2019, as reported by CIWM Journal.
- Andriukaitis, the commissioner for health and food safety, said that the EU generates about 88 million metric tons of food waste per year with estimated related costs of €143 billion ($152.3 billion USD). He noted that the loss of such resources is "unethical and immoral."
- As outlined by Andriukaitis, meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goal of reducing food waste 50% by 2030 will require action in multiple areas. These include establishing a common EU methodology to measure food waste, developing guidelines to facilitate food donation, lifting any barriers to using food resources along the supply chain and improving date labeling standards to make them more clear to consumers.
This particular U.N. goal has helped inspire action in countries around the world, though many in the EU have been taking the lead. The announcement of a new food waste accounting and reporting standard at the Global Green Growth Forum summit in Copenhagen earlier this year was a notable step in the process and the EU has also had many other small developments since.
Some might say that the region is already a global leader when it comes to food waste reduction and that could become even more true depending on what happens with the Environmental Protection Agency during the Trump administration. The agency's own goal to reduce food waste 50% by 2030 is not binding in any sense. Though many other stakeholders in the U.S. are already deeply involved in implementing the ideas Andriukaitis talked about in his speech.
Food donation still faces many barriers in the U.S. but is a growing area of interest. The same goes for date label reform and waste reduction in the supply chain. Many haulers and municipalities are also finding ways to effectively collect and process whatever organic material is left. With the added benefit of learning from the EU and others the U.S. can continue to tackle food waste regardless of what ends up happening with its federal agencies.
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