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MEPs call for blitz on EU food waste mountain

MEPs call for blitz on EU food waste mountain

Food waste - Photo European Parliament

(STRASBOURG) - MEPs called Tuesday for a halving of food waste in the EU by 2030, by lifting existing restrictions on food donations and eliminating confusion about 'best before' and 'use by' labels.

In a plenary vote, the European Parliament called on EU countries to achieve food waste cuts of 30% by 2025 and a further 50% by 2030 (compared to 2014).

Food waste in the EU has been estimated at some 88 million tonnes, or 173 kg per capita per year. The production and disposal of this food waste leads to the emission of 170 million tonnes of CO2 and consumes 26 million tonnes of resources.

In developed countries food is wasted mostly at the end of the chain, at distribution and consumption, said Parliament's rapporteur Biljana Borzan MEP: "Everyone has a responsibility to tackle this problem," she said. "My report calls for a coordinated policy response on labelling, liability and education, as most consumers do not understand the precise meaning of "best before" and "use by" labelling. Ms Borzan's resolution was adopted by 623 votes to 33, with 20 abstentions.

National authorities and stakeholders should do more to help consumers to understand "use by" and "best before" labels, say MEPs, including the fact that food can be eaten after the "best before" date.

The Commission will now have to assess the possible benefits of removing certain dates for products without any risk to public health or the environment.

The Parliament also says the Commission should propose a change in the VAT Directive that would explicitly authorise tax exemptions on food donations. It says the EU Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) should be used to finance the cost of collecting, transporting, storing and distributing food donations.

Further information, European Parliament

Steps of the procedure

Adopted text (2016/2223(INI)) will soon be available here (15.05.2017)

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