SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Urban recovery and redistribution of safe and nutritious food for human consumption

05 Feb 2016

Every year, about 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption gets lost, counting for 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries post-harvest loss is impacting directly safe and nutritious food availability for human consumption while urban areas globally are challenged with addressing food waste prevention and reduction. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s expert panel addressed Promotion of urban food security and nutrition through redistribution of food at risk of loss or waste. The panel presented the voluntary definition of recovery and redistribution of safe and nutritious food for human consumption, context based solutions and practical examples at local, regional and global level.

Global policy processes have initiated to address food loss and waste (FLW) prevention and reduction. These include: Zero Hunger Challenge 5th element, Codex Alimentarius, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). Regions and countries around the world have started to consider terminology, data, policy measures, and key stakeholders as identified by the Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction led by FAO.

Senior nutrition officer Warren T K Lee highlighted the need to improve data availability to assess FLW scale and impacts for most relevant intervention points and impacts on micro-nutrients. The 2015 FAO published case study for Kenya allowed private sector effective investments for loss reduction based on better data available at supply chain level.

Food waste will be a reality until we can prevent safe and nutritious food to be thrown away from agricultural, fisheries, and forestry supply chains. Local authorities from the Wietzendorf (Germany) prioritize education for all age groups. Local food councils can be useful to set priorities, monitor and facilitate.  

Civil society organizations such as the Global FoodBanking Network (GNF) help match availability for recovery and redistribution along the food supply chain with needs, stated Craig Nemitz. There are currently more than 900 Tafel in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, told Chairperson of Berliner Tafel Sabine Werth.

There is a need to work with all relevant actors to identify policy and legal challenges and opportunities, such as the Good Samaritan Law, the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Labelling, or the taxation environment.

The Indian NGO Annakshetra collects available cooked food after cultural events for food and nutrition insecure waste workers engaging them in participating at the meal by bringing part of it, i.e. bread. Attention to cultural aspects and persons’ dignity are key.

All above solutions are relevant, in a vertically and horizontally coordinated sustainable food system, stated Camelia Adriana Bucatariu.

Moderated by Camelia Adriana Bucatariu – Technical Officer, Nutrition and Food Systems Division (ESN) FAO, Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Panel members

  • Vivek Agrawal – Annakshetra NGO (India)
  • Craig Nemitz – The Global FoodBanking Network (USA)
  • Uwe Wrieden – Mayor of Wietzendorf
  • Sabine Werth – Founder and Chairperson of the Berliner Tafel
  • Warren T K Lee – Senior Nutrition Officer, Nutrition and Food Systems Division (ESN), FAO

Further resources