MEPs call for urgent and coordinated measures to halve food wastage in the EU - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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MEPs call for urgent and coordinated measures to halve food wastage in the EU

Saturday, 21 January 2012
MEPs in Strasbourg have this week called for urgent and coordinated EU-wide measures to halve food waste by 2025 and to improve access to food for needy EU citizens in a resolution adopted on Thursday. It is estimated that almost 50% of edible and healthy food gets wasted along the entire food supply chain each year.

To drastically reduce food wastage by 2025, the resolution says new awareness campaigns should be run at both EU and national levels to inform the public how to avoid wasting food, Member States should introduce school and college courses explaining how to store, cook and dispose of food and also exchange best practices to this end. It also calls for the year 2014 to be designated as "European year against food waste".

Commenting ahead of the vote on Thursday, Sir Graham Watson, Lib Dem MEP for the South West said: "It is outrageous that almost £50 worth of food a month is thrown away by the average household in Britain. This amounts to almost 6.7 million tonnes. And let’s not forget the amount of water, animal feed, packaging and labour that would have gone into producing it. With an estimated 100,000 of the South West's children living in poverty it's barmy to even contemplate throwing away so much of our resources at great expense.

"To improve resource-efficiency at all stages of the supply chain we need both a coordinated European strategy as well as sharing of best practices across Member States,” he said. “Most importantly, however, all players in the food supply chain need to be brought on board and help devise guidelines to improve efficiency and minimize waste."

The report also asks the Commission to undertake a detailed analysis of the causes and economic, social and environmental effects of the disposal, wastage and land-filling targets by 2014.

The report’s rapporteur Salvatore Caronna (S&D, IT) described this as “an ethical but also an economic and social problem, with huge implications for the environment […] the ball is now in the Commission's court. We expect nothing less than a convincing EU strategy that will steer all 27 Member States to systematically tackle the issue."

(Quotes from audio produced by Quadrant for UK radio stations used with kind permission.)

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