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The European Commission Has Failed in its Fight against Food Waste

Posted by Tomas Zdechovsky at 01 March 2017, 17:00 CET |
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Every year The European Union invests hundreds of millions of euros in development aid, fight against hunger and fight for fair trade practices all over the world.

Every year The European Union invests hundreds of millions of euros in development aid, fight against hunger and fight for fair trade practices all over the world. However, a fundamental topic such as food waste which triggers all of these problems is not firmly embedded in the Commission´s agenda. This is what members of the European Parliament actually discussed during the meeting of the Committee of Budgetary Control (CONT) on Monday afternoon.

On the one hand, the European Union aspires to leadership in environmental protection and fight against climate change, on the other hand, it only pays scant attention to food waste, which is, however, a fundamental topic definitely deserving much more.

In this field, the Union lacks a meaningful strategy linking relevant political areas such as agriculture, fisheries or environment. It is ironic, especially if we know that this is indeed a serious issue. It is a sign of inconsistency and absence of an overall political strategy in this respect. In the face of population projections the planet is unable to feed increasing numbers of people, but at the same time one third of food produced for human consumption ends up as waste.

Smart packaging solutions or food donations could limit food waste

As a rapporteur, I have been critical mainly because in the past the Commission committed itself to actively addressing this issue, but still remains reluctant.

It is not a costly issue, there is no need to create new financial instruments. The thing is that we should make use the current European policies that may help to tackle this problem. Apart from prevention it is necessary to unify the definition of food waste and methodology of its measuring, and above all provide insight into the rules related to food donations or ambiguous labels such as "use by" or "best before" that are used incorrectly by many member states.

Personally, I am a strong advocate of food safety and high quality standards, but I think common sense should be applied here and these rules should in no case lead to destroying consumable food that can be further used for charitable purposes. One of the suitable ways can be using so called smart packaging solutions showing whether the food is to be thrown away or can still be consumed.

Report of the European Court of Auditors


MEP Tomáš Zdechovský is a Member of the European Parliament who is a rapporteur appointed for the report of the European Court of Auditors on the EU struggle against wood waste and its efficiency.

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Tomas Zdechovsky MEP

Tomas Zdechovsky

Tomas Zdechovsky is a Czech politician, crisis manager, media analyst, poet and author. In May 2014 he was elected member of the European Parliament with KDU-ČSL, part of European Peoples Party.