Circular economy food waste monitoring framework adopted

circular economy food waste
© iStock/MATJAZ SLANIC

The European Commission has agreed on a Delegated Act implementing an EU-wide methodology for the measurement of food waste.

Around 20 per cent of the EU’s food is lost or wasted every year; and the Circular Economy Action Plan adopted by the Commission in 2015 identified prevention of food waste as a significant priority. The methodology detailed in the Delegated Act is intended to streamline the process of monitoring levels of food waste across the EU in order to build a coherent set of data.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Food waste is unacceptable in a world where millions still suffer from hunger and where our natural resources, which make human life and wellbeing possible, are becoming increasingly scarce. That is why we have defined food waste prevention as a key priority in building a circular economy and a sustainable society. To deliver change, we have to be able to properly measure food waste. I am pleased to see the EU developing the first ever comprehensive food waste measurement methodology and blazing the trail globally.”

The Delegated Act provides comprehensive definitions of food waste for all stages of the food supply chain and lays out a common measurement methodology, while allowing a degree of flexibility in the ways Member States can collect food waste data at the national level. It aims to complement waste legislation adopted in May 2018, which commits Member States to working towards preventing food waste, monitoring and documenting food waste levels.

In a speech at the sixth EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, in charge of Health and Food Safety, said: “There are plenty opportunities to redesign a food system that minimises losses and promotes circularity. This will maximise value for consumers, producers and society as a whole. A systemic approach also means achieving full recyclability of plastic food packaging by 2030 in line with the Commission’s plastics strategy. Turning bio-waste, residues and discards into valuable resources, as part of the bio-economy, offers further business opportunities. Food loss and waste is nothing else but a symptom of a dysfunctional food system and tackling its root causes requires rethinking how we produce, market, distribute and consume food.

Vice-President Katainen added: “We need to enable mechanisms at international, EU, national and local level to help stakeholders make a successful transition to more sustainable food systems. Of course, policies aimed at strengthening sustainable production and consumption have to safeguard food safety, animal and human health.”

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