SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

FAO participates in the 2nd meeting of the EU FLW Platform towards the achievement of SDG 12.3

11 Jul 2017

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is engaged in policy dialogue and information exchange with the European Commission’s Directorate for General Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) on post-harvest loss and food waste. FAO has, since November 2016, been a member of the EU Platform on Food Loss and Waste (EU PFLW) which aims to involve all stakeholders –including Member States, international organizations, actors in the food supply chain and non-profit organizations – in defining the measures needed to prevent food waste, sharing best practices, and evaluating progress made over time.

The activities of the EU PFLW intend to support the EU to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in September 2015, that include a target to halve per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030, and reduce food losses along the food production and supply chains.

Despite advancements, actions and publications concerning food waste prevention measures – i.e. the Special Report of the European Court of Auditors published in January and the Resolution of the European Parliament adopted on 16 May – the EU has advocated for a more holistic view of the food value chain and the need to develop sound measurements. According to recent estimates (FUSIONS, 2016) food waste in the EU-28 amounts to 88 million tonnes, but reliable data are available only for a quarter of the Member States.

On 14 June, 2017, the second meeting of the EU PFLW was held in Brussels and FAO was invited to contribute to the discussion on how to draft EU guidelines on food donation. The Organization also contributed to the dialogue on how to establish a common methodology for measuring food waste across the European Union.

The afternoon session of the meeting was dedicated to discussing the food waste prevention measures which need to be implemented at the national level – including the new regulatory frameworks in place in France and Italy – and the EU guidelines on food donation which the Commission intends to adopt by the end of 2017. These guidelines will help to remove barriers, regulatory or operational, which currently hinder the donation of safe, edible food for human consumption.

The European Commission agreed to include FAO’s definition of the ‘recovery and distribution of safe and nutritious food for direct human consumption’ in the guidelines. This definition establishes that recovering and redistributing food for human consumption implies ‘receiving with or without payment, food (processed, semi-processed or raw), which would otherwise be discarded or wasted from the agricultural, livestock, forestry and fisheries supply chains of the food system. It concerns storing and/or processing and then distributing the received food, pursuant to appropriate safety, quality and other relevant regulatory frameworks directly or through intermediaries, and with or without payment, to those having access to it for direct food intake’.

In addition to – and complementing – the EU guidelines for food donations, the EU PFLW is also developing guidelines for the use of former foodstuffs as feed. These latter will help to ensure that food resources which cannot enter the usual consumer retail channel but are fit for feed use can be valorized and safely utilized for animal feed production in all Member States.