EU: MEP’s Questions & Answers - Waste

27 November 2017 – Daciana Octavia Sârbu – [E-007281-17] - Subject: Food waste

The transition to a circular economy where products and their components are used in a consistent long-term cycle is one of the Commission’s priorities with a view to achieving economic sustainability and creating low-carbon societies through the efficient use of resources. This process of economic and social change will make it possible to consolidate high levels of competitiveness among Member States and enhance public awareness of the need to take care of the environment.

To this end, and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the European Union has created the European Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste in order to contribute to the common goal of reducing per capita food waste by 2030. The platform’s work covers areas of activity such as better use and understanding of date marking on food labels, awareness, information and education campaigns, along with technological and social innovation.

What corrective measures and incentives is the Commission planning to introduce in order to help reduce food waste?

What measures is the Commission planning in order to increase awareness so that consumers can avoid high levels of food waste?

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission (7 March 2018):

«A survey of unsold food and leftovers from catering activities was conducted in October and November 2017 at the General Secretariat of the Council. It showed a relatively low level of food waste thanks to constant monitoring of attendance at the canteens and steady management of purchases and stocks.

In particular, food production in the canteens has been adapted to match expected throughput, based on an analysis of planned meetings and events in Council buildings in Brussels. Account is taken of school holidays, periods when buildings are closed for maintenance or events, as well as the reduced presence of staff due to external factors such as strikes or transport disruption. On a daily basis, the volumes of sales of each dish are analysed and serve as a reference for future stock orders. For protocol events, the quantity of food ordered is fine-tuned in accordance with the expected number of participants.

Moreover, self-service by weight in the salad bar and the availability of smaller portions of food upon request ensure that the amount of food does not exceed consumption.

Unsold food and unused raw products are stored for re-use the following day, as appropriate.

Leftovers — appropriately sorted and grinded — are collected for recycling.

As for food donations, the required logistics, hygiene and food safety measures are being assessed within the GSC — under the supervision of the Belgian Federal Agency for Food Safety — with a view to exploring the possible setting-up of such a scheme.».