food waste (2)

EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste

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The most recent estimates of European food waste levels (FUSIONS, 2016) reveal that 70% of EU food waste arises in the household, food service and retail sectors, with production and processing sectors contributing the remaining 30%.

Tackling food waste means working together with all key players from public and private sectors in order to better identify, measure, understand and find solutions to deal with food waste. There is not one single cause with one solution because the food chain is a complex and dynamic system. All actors in the food chain need to work together to find solutions, from farmers, processors, manufacturers and retailers through to consumers themselves. Policy makers, research scientists, food banks and other NGOs also play an important role.

In order to support achievement of the  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)12.3 target on food waste and maximise the contribution of all actors, the Communication on Circular Economy (2015)Search for available translations of the preceding linkEN••• called on the Commission to establish a Platform dedicated to food waste prevention. Thus the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste (FLW) was established in 2016, bringing together EU institutions, experts from the EU countries and relevant stakeholders selected through an open call for applications. The Platform aims to support all actors in: defining measures needed to prevent food waste; sharing best practice; and evaluating progress made over time.

The EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste will continue to play a key role in mobilising action to reduce food loss and waste across the EU as part of the Farm to Fork StrategySearch for available translations of the preceding linkEN•••. In order to re-establish the Platform and ensure continuity of work as of 2022, the Commission launched a new public call for applications for private sector organisations and invited public entities to join its work for another 5-year term (2022-2026).  Interested organisations were invited to apply until 23 July 2021.

In addition to plenary meetings, the Platform also operates in sub-groups to examine specific aspects and/or questions related to food waste prevention. Four such subgroups have been established to date:

For further information visit the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste.

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EFSA has developed a tool to help food business operators decide when to apply the ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ date to their products.

The ‘use by’ date on food is about safety – foods can be eaten until this date but not after, even if they look and smell fine. ‘Best before’ refers to quality – the food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best. For example, its flavour and texture might not be as good.

The European Commission estimates that up to 10% of the 88 million tonnes of food waste generated annually in the EU is linked to date marking on food products.

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