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SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Actions to expand food supply and reduce food loss and waste

FAO / E. Kennedy
18 Dec 2015

On the occasion of the Forty-second Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) the governments of Brazil and Italy have co-organized with the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations (FAO) a side event on Dialogue on Access, Recovery and Redistribution of food: Actions to expand food supply and reduce food losses and waste (FLW).

The dialogue facilitated a rich sharing on knowledge, policies and concrete actions that can increase consumers and small producers access to food and enable recovery and redistribution of safe and nutritious food for human consumption along the supply chain.

The objective of the exchange was identifying further actions needed within CFS, FAO and other fora.  

Sharing country experiences on policies, investments, market incentives and innovations, consumer education, and recovery and redistribution facilitated a global reflection. 

Discussions focused on priority of actions based on improvement of food system efficiencies and reduction of food insecurity and malnutrition, taking into account national contexts and social protection systems.

The University of Bologna moderated contributions from FAO, Norway, Brazil, Italy, the Global FoodBanking Network (GFN), Italian Food Banks Foundation, Libera NGO, and SESC (Social Services of Commerce - Brazil).

“Reducing food losses and waste (FLW) involves a set of public policies for food and nutrition security which must encompass all the stages of the food supply-chain: from production to consumption”, stated the National Secretary for Food and Nutrition Security of Brazil, Mr. Arnoldo de Campos. “Social protection programs are key for ensuring food and nutrition security, and actions to address FLW can have a significant impact on reducing food prices, especially for low-income families”.

Recognizing the recent commitments on reducing food losses and waste within the CFS, the G20, the Zero Hunger Challenge and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the Permanent Representative of Brazil to FAO, Ambassador Maria Laura da Rocha, called for further cooperation and collaboration among Governments, civil society and the private sector, in order to promote access to healthy food by preventing food loss and waste.

The Director of Field Services of the Global FoodBanking Network, Mr. Craig Nemitz, stated that “Food banks can be a good contributing solution. Sometimes simple solutions – such as educating about the expiration dates - can achieve significant results in reducing FLW”.

The reduction of food losses and waste is crucial to improve food security, prevent climate change and preserve our natural resources: water, soil, biodiversity. Finding solutions for reducing FLW could be difficult when countries have different economies, production methods and natural resources. However, changes have to be done at every stage of the food supply chain in order to minimize losses in the consumption and production processes. To this end, cooperation among all sectors of society (public and private sector, civil society) should be pursued in taking action along food supply chains, said Mr. Felice Assenza, Director General for International Policies at the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies.

An important part of the problem is food waste, referred also as safe and nutritious food that has been discarded or left to expire. In cases like these, improving information, harmonizing regulatory frameworks and interpretation of date labels such as “best before” dates could be essential in reducing food waste.

Thousands of tons of food can be recovered and redistributed from the food industries and along the distribution and catering chains. Food that can be recovered and redistributed should become a value that can be given to those who cannot afford it, stated Mr. Marco Lucchini, Director General of Fondazione Banco Alimentare.

In this regard, the Italian Ambassador, Pierfrancesco Sacco, presented some recent initiatives undertaken by Italy in order to draw attention on FLW and highlighted the need for Governments’ commitment in implementing programs and policies on food losses and waste.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts being made in food loss and waste reduction by the Governments of Brazil and Italy and encourage more countries, the private sector and civil society to engage and support this work at global, regional and national level”, added the Assistant Director-General of FAO, Mr. Ren Wang.

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