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‘Fight Food Waste’ puts food recovery and redistribution high on the agenda at Expo Milan 2015

Source: Twitter , Panellists at Fight Food Waste, Feed the Planet.
04 Nov 2015

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety in collaboration with SAVE FOOD (under the 2015 Series of International Conferences on Food Loss and Waste Reduction) and Expo Milan 2015 hosted a one day conference entitled ‘Fight Food Waste, Feed the Planet’ at the Expo grounds in Milan, Italy on October 15. Featuring a diverse group of more than 200 European actors tackling food waste at various levels of the food supply chain, Fight Food Waste, Feed the Planet was key in placing food recovery and redistribution high on the agenda at the Expo Milan 2015.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, reiterated his organization’s commitment to lifting the barriers that prevent the valorization and redistribution of safe food. ‘We must make sure that our strategies include options allowing for food re-utilisation – whenever it is safe and secure,’ said Andriukaitis. Voicing the Commission’s commitment to creating a European environment that was anti-food waste, Andriukaitis said that the Commission was also working together with Member States and stakeholders to remove obstacles – regulatory or operational – which might hinder the donation of safe, edible food.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation’s (FAO) Eugenia Serova, strategic programme leader for Inclusive and Efficient Food Systems, outlined FAO’s work on food loss and waste reduction and the mission and modus operandi of the Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, known more commonly as SAVE FOOD. Serova also explained the importance of food waste reduction in terms of global food security and the interconnectedness of food waste, availability in other parts of the world. ‘Food waste has an impact on food security, on local and national economies, on the natural resource base, on waste streams and the environment. Globalized food supply chains carry this impact from the region where the food is consumed or wasted to the region where the food is produced. Food insecurity is often more a question of access (purchasing power and prices of food) than a supply problem,’’ she said.

Linda Martisson, operations manager, Hospital Food Service in the Västra Götaland County in Sweden presented on the challenges of reducing food waste in hospitals. Martisson emphasized that even in very restrictive conditions – such as those of healthcare facilities – it is possible to take measures to reduce food waste and to do so successfully while maintaining human health.

Pilar Rodriquez from the Catalan Waste Agency, a public company within the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability of the Government of Catalonia in Spain, also shared some of the awareness raising activities her agency was undertaking. Catalonia currently produces over 260,000 tons of food waste or roughly 35 kg of food waste per capita each year.

There were also presentations by agencies from the government of the UK, Luxembourg and the Netherlands among others. Participants also fielded questions to an active panel involving members of the private sector, public sector and civil society. The panel discussed the actions needed to prevent food waste throughout the food supply chain or ‘from farm to fork’. There, the role of measurements, transparency and technology in preventing food waste was highlighted. Additionally, panelists also pinpointed the need to build greater awareness in the society, particularly among youth, and cautioned against the use of food banks and other organizations involved in food recovery and redistribution as ‘dumping grounds’ in light of unsustainable food consumption habits.

Missed the event? It’s not too late. See the highlights of the social media discussion on Storify:  http://tinyurl.com/fight-food-waste

Watch a live stream of the conference at http://tinyurl.com/foodwastelivestream

 

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