50% of food produced in EU is thrown away

Labour MEP for Ireland South Phil Prendergast has called for an EU-wide
public awareness campaign after the publication of an EU report showing
half the food produced in the EU is wasted.

“This food wastage occurs at several points along the supply chain. It can
occur at the level of farm production, the point of storage, processing,
distribution, management and right through to the consumption stage”, Ms
Prendergast said.

“This amounts to 89 million tonnes of food wasted each year. We must do
something to stop this waste and to make better use of our resources. Food
poverty continues to be a huge problem in Europe – some 16 million people
rely on charities for food in the EU.

“In Ireland we throw away more than one million tonnes of food each year
and food waste in the Irish catering sector amounts to over €200 million,
according to the latest estimates.

“The European Parliament has agreed an action plan to combat food waste
and it includes the use of both “sell-by” and “use-by” dates on produce as
most food remains edible after the retail date has expired. The action
plan also calls for better public awareness to avoid excessive waste.

“The Irish National Waste Prevention Programme set up the StopFoodWaste.ie website to inform people about the issue and it provides many useful tips on grocery shopping, food preparation and using up leftovers in a bid to reduce the amount of food we throw out each week.

“I have called for a similar project for the EU as a whole.

“If we are to tackle the issue head-on we must start with informing people
on the simple steps we can all take to reduce the amount of food we
waste.”

The Action Plan agreed by the European Parliament calls for:
•       Dual-date labelling: ‘sell by’ and ‘use by’ (many food products are
still edible after the retail date has expired)
•       Appropriate and reduced packaging to better meet consumers’ real needs
•       Better education to avoid excessive waste
•       European Year Against Food Waste to be declared in 2014
•       Introducing ‘anti-food waste’ clauses in public procurement for catering
•       Allowing retailers to reduce the price of fresh food to below the cost
of production when it is close to its ‘sell by’ date
•       Food distribution programmes for poor people

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