The European Union wastes more food than it imports, undermining its food security amid rising costs of living. The European Environment Bureau (EEB) said on Friday.
The European Commission is expected to propose binding targets to reduce this waste by the end of the year, to be formally adopted in 2023.
In 2021, the EU imported nearly 138 million tonnes of agricultural products at a cost of €150 billion. At the same time, it wastes 153.5 million tonnes of food annually, the EEB noted, referring to the report by the environmental organisation Feedback EU published on Friday.
The monetary and environmental cost
As much as one-fifth of EU food production is being wasted today. Reducing those losses by 2030 could save some 4.7 million hectares of farmland, the EEB calculated.
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Food waste is also responsible for a loss of €143 billion a year, as well as being at the root of 6% of total greenhouse emissions within the EU.
The EEB and 42 other organisations from 20 EU countries published a joint statement on Friday calling on European authorities to legally oblige member states to halve food waste by 2030. They also want agricultural food waste to be accounted for.
The targets will be set after negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Council. If adopted, the legislation would be the first of its kind worldwide, says the European Environment Agency.