SAVE FOOD: Initiative mondiale de réduction des pertes et du gaspillage alimentaires

MEPs support FAO’s education programme on food waste prevention

21 Feb 2019

Food waste has a high social, economic and environmental cost, but also ethical consequences as 821 million people are chronically undernourished. Thus, food waste prevention has been identified as one of the priority areas under the UN Sustainable Development Goals global agenda and the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan published in December 2015 by the European Commission. The FAO and the EU pledged to work closely together to halve per capita food waste by 2030. To achieve this goal, coordinated policy response and involvement of all stakeholders, including consumers, are needed. 

On 21 February, a roundtable was assembled under the auspices of the European Parliamentary Alliance on the Fight against Hunger and the European Parliament (EP) Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” to draw attention to political and moral responsibility to reduce food waste and to call for immediate action.The roundtable focused on the importance and the transformative potential of educating and engaging children – future consumers – in food waste prevention, thus, leading to behavioral change across generations. 

In this regard, the education package “Do good: Save food!”, developed by FAO together with the International Food Waste Coalition (IFWC), was presented at the roundtable. The package comprises teaching manuals targeted to children of four different age groups to promote awareness of the economic, social and environmental consequences of wasting food, advantages of preventing food waste, actions that children can take to reduce food waste and good habits that they can develop and introduce to their friends, families and communities to reduce food waste. 

The “Do good: Save food!” education materials were tested at 18 schools in Belgium, France, Italy and UK. Based on results of the pilot phase, it is estimated that food waste reduction at schools may amount to 15 - 50%, depending on the extent to which the education programme is implemented. With an intention to disseminate the materials further across Europe and Central Asia, FAO and the International Food Waste Coalition called for support of the initiative. At the moment, the materials are being translated and adapted into Hungarian and Croatian. 

In her opening speech, MEP Biljana Borzan emphasized the role of education in the fight against food waste and urged Member States to incorporate training on food waste reduction into education. MEP Angelique Delahaye added that legislation alone would not be enough:Changing mentalities is essential”.

Anne-Laure Gassin, DG Sante, European Commission,reiterated the message, saying that: “Over 50% of EU food waste is generated at household level. Therefore, education of young people is of key importance to change behavior and adopt new habits”.

The roundtable was co-organized by FAO Liaison Office in Brussels and hosted by MEP Angelique Delahaye and MEP Biljana Borzan, the Rapporteur of a resolution on the “Initiative on resource efficiency: reducing food waste and improving food safety”. Speakers of the roundtable included Anne-Laure Gassin, DG Sante, European Commission; Rosa Rolle, FAO; Philippe Micheaux-Naudet, ACR+; Todor Ivanov, Eurocoop; Thomas Candeal, International Food Waste Coalition (IFWC); Lorenzo Ferrucci, Food and Drinks Europe; Hélène Delabye, Carrefour Belgium; Oksana Sapiga, FAO SAVE FOOD Initiative; Eva De Baerdemaeker, Cultureghem. Over seventy people, including representatives of the European Parliament, EU Institutions and organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector, attended the roundtable.

21 February 2019, Brussels, Belgium