Europe takes major step in curbing the worsening problem in food waste
European lawmakers took a major in step reducing food waste as it endorses a law urging member states to cut its food waste in half by 2030.
“I’m very pleased with the outcome because it is the first time that we have a European legislation on food waste. In this regulation, you have for the first time binding measures that member states have to take to tackle food waste,” said MEP Simona Bonafe, a member of the European Parliament’s environment committee.
The regulation requires members of the European Parliament to report food waste levels yearly from 2020 and provide incentives for collecting and redistributing unsold food. It becomes law after approval by ministers and published in the official journal, which is basically just for formality at this point.
The food waste goals are part of the European Commission’s “Circular Economy Package”, a broader legal framework aimed at fostering sustainable growth and includes recycling targets.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations approximately 1.3 billion tons or roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted every year. Developed and developing country shares almost the same quantity of food waste at 670 and 630 tons respectively.
The FAO report explained that in developing countries food waste and losses occur mainly at early stages of the food value chain and can be traced back to financial, managerial and technical constraints in harvesting techniques as well as storage and cooling facilities. While in medium- and high-income countries food is wasted and lost mainly at later stages in the supply chain. Differing from the situation in developing countries, the behavior of consumers plays a huge part in industrialized countries
The report also states that the food currently lost or wasted in Latin America could feed 300 million people and if Africa as well while the food currently wasted in Europe could feed 200 million. And that even if just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world.
This regulation is in line with the U.N. sustainable development goals to address global issues such as hunger. Though campaigners are all cheering for this still think that the law is lacking teeth. The 50 percent target is not binding, meaning nations would not face penalties for failing, said Martin Bowman of This is Rubbish, a UK based organization campaigning for food waste reduction, In an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
However he still acknowledged that but called the requirement to report annually is a breakthrough “This will transform the fight against food waste,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.