MEP Zdechovský: The European Commission Has Failed in its Fight against Food Waste
Brussels - Every year The European Union invests hundreds of millions of euros in development aid, in order to fight hunger and for fair trade practices all over the world. However, a fundamental topic such as food waste, which touches upon both of these problems, is not firmly embedded in the Commission´s agenda. This was part of the discussion by Members of the European Parliament during the meeting of the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) on Monday afternoon. The discussion was opened by the newly appointed rapporteur on “the EU struggle against wood waste and its efficiency”, by the European Court of Auditors, Tomáš Zdechovský:
„On the one hand, the European Union aspires towards leadership in environmental protection and the fight against climate change, on the other hand, it only pays scant attention to food waste, which is a fundamental topic, which definitely deserves much more attention,“
“In this field, the Union lacks a meaningful strategy linking relevant political areas, such as agriculture, fisheries or environment, to each other. In view of the importance and seriousness of this topic, it seems ironic.. It is a sign of inconsistency and absence of an overall political strategy in this respect,” says Zdechovský, pointing out that in the face of a rapidly growing global population, malnutrition is an increasing problem; sadly even within the EU. Simultaneously, one third of all food produced for human consumption ends up as waste.
Smart packaging solutions or food donations could limit food waste
As rapporteur, MEP Zdechovský has decided to criticise the European Commission, because it has committed itself to actively addressing the issue, but has remained reluctant to pro-actively suggest any viable and practical solution till date.
“It is not a costly issue, there is no need to create new financial instruments. The thing is that we should make use of the current European policies that may help to tackle this problem,“ explains Zdechovský, highlighting that apart from prevention it is necessary to unify the definition of food waste and methodology of its measuring, and above all provide insights 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,” adds Zdechovský, reminding that 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.
The report of the European Court of Auditors is available here: