EU wastes 153.3 Million Tonnes of Food Yearly

The European Union wastes about 153.5 million tonnes of food each year, which is more than its imports, according a latest report from the Feedback EU.

Pointing put that EU’s food waste accounts for at least 6% of its total emissions, the report “No Time to Waste”said that  the food wastage costs the EU upwards of €143 billion per year.

 “In 2021, the EU imported almost 138 million tonnes of agricultural products from outside of its borders, worth a total of €150 billion, while wasting a higher amount — 153.5 million tonnes — of food each year,” the report said.

EU FOOD WASTE; CONCERN

The report stated that the scale of waste is of grave concern when one considers that about 33 million people cannot afford a quality meal every second day. “Food insecurity and climate change disproportionately impact women and historically marginalised communities, making food waste a human rights and gender equality issue,” the report said.

EU FOOD WASTE; SDG

In the report, the authors called for potential environmental, economic, and social gains of reducing food waste are enormous. It said that reducing food waste would allow the EU and its Member States to meet SDG 12.3 and other climate commitments, improve food security, save money for citizens, governments, and businesses, and support climate justice and human rights. “In enacting ambitious and binding food waste reduction targets, the EU has a remarkable opportunity to seize these benefits and demonstrate global leadership on one of the defining issues of our time,” the report reads.

Frank Mechielsen, Executive Director at Feedback EU, said: “At a time of high food prices and a cost-of-living crisis, it’s a scandal that the EU is potentially throwing away more food than it’s importing. The EU now has a massive opportunity to set legally binding targets to halve its food waste from farm to fork by 2030 to tackle climate change and improve food security.

Pierre Condamine, formerly Zero Waste Europe, said and transitioning to sustainable food systems, it needs to adopt a binding target of 50% reduction covering the whole food supply chain. So far, sole focus on citizens and voluntary measures have proven to be inefficient. Therefore, only through holistic thinking and policy will we achieve deep and transformative change.”

 RECOMMENDATION
  • set a legally binding, 50% by 2030 food waste reduction target
  • set a food reduction target that is farm to fork
  • extend mandatory food waste measurement to cover all primary production food waste, from the point at which food is mature enough to harvest
  • when modelling the feasibility of a 50% reduction target, focus on industry leaders and the potential unleashed by regulation, not on the limitations of past voluntary action
  • foster an enabling policy environment for member states to share information and act
  • allow member states to use 2015 baseline data on food waste levels
  • consider implementing the target by regulating food businesses of a certain size

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