People power, NGOs and consumer groups are pushing Brussels to consider rules against “food waste”.
The public debate on the fight against food waste has moved centre-stage, driven by many factors, including the Milan Expo on the theme of food, the newly proposed law against food waste in France and the constant raising of awareness by non-governmental organizations involved in helping the hungry.
The statistics are staggering: about a third of the food produced on the planet is thrown away, with dramatic imbalances between rich and poor countries. But fortunately, change is in the air and in both public and private settings, proposals to curb this phenomenon and reverse the malicious cycle of waste are growing.
As is often the case, the political institutions are arriving late on the scene, but eager to gain electoral support from the issue, they are now trying to recover at least some of the lost ground. In Brussels as well, ever more initiatives are being proposed by MEPs to tackle the problem and push the Commission towards issuing regulations and directives that tackle this phenomenon.
Obviously, it is not that simple. There are often many conflicting interests between different groups and countries, and finding common ground is not easy. Suffice it to say that the concept of food waste does not seem to have a single definition at the European level. This is not just a problem of language, but an essential step without which it is impossible to define prevention policies, set reduction targets and measure the effectiveness of policies aimed at reducing food waste.
However, the European die is cast and the hope of making up for lost time in dealing with this critical issue is no longer an idealistic dream.
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, has shown himself to be particularly receptive on this issue, also heeding statements that MEPs from across the political divide drafted as a reminder that 2025 is the date (decided over three years ago) by which the EU member states are committed to halve food wastage in Europe.