MEPs have voted to adopt a report calling on strict targets to cut food waste in half within 13 years.
Making “best before” and “use by” labels “less confusing” and changing the VAT directive on food donations to encourage better uptake from retailers and traders distributing to charities, are two major steps to reduce waste across the supply chain, according to the politicians.
MEPs advocate efforts to halve the estimated 88 million tonnes of food waste (173kg per capita per year) across member states by 2030 and reach a 30% reduction by 2025.
“In developed countries food is wasted mostly at the end of the chain, at distribution and consumption. Everyone has a responsibility to tackle this problem”, said lead MEP Biljana Borzan (S&D, HR).
Her food waste report calls for a coordinated policy response on labelling, liability and education.
“Most consumers do not understand the precise meaning of “best before” and “use by” labelling. Moreover, we should address the shortcomings of existing EU legislation where it hinders food donations.”
Borzan’s resolution was adopted on Tuesday (May 16) by 623 votes to 33, with 20 abstentions.
In terms of labelling, the Commission would need to investigate the potential benefits of removing certain dates for products without posing any risk to public health or the environment.
And in order to facilitate food donations there should be a change in the VAT directive that would authorise tax exemptions on food donations.
In addition, European funding could also be used to finance the cost of collecting, transporting, storing and distributing food donations.