The European Parliament wants to tackle food wastage. Each year, some 88 million tonnes of food are discarded in Europe, or 173 kg per person. Belgians waste an average of 345 kg of food a year with only the Dutch wasting even more than that.
Hilde Vautmans (Open Vld) calls the figures “shocking”. While 795 million people worldwide die of hunger, Belgium throws away 345 kg of food per person per year, while Slovenia throws away only 72 kg. In a resolution approved on Tuesday by a very large majority, MEPs set a goal of reducing food wastage by 30% by 2025 and by 50% by 2030, compared to 2014 which is used as a reference. A mix of measures must help to achieve this goal.
Hilde Vautmans finds that consumers must first of all have clearer information and should be aware of food safety and wastage. Thus, there appears to be uncertainty regarding the words “consume before” and “consume by”.
The introduction of a 0% VAT rate on the free distribution of unsold foods, as is already the case in Belgium, is also an option for Parliament. “This facilitates the functioning of food banks and local social and food aid organisations”, said Mark Demesmaeker (N-VA). Tom Vandenkendelaere (CD&V) says that much of the waste is at the production level, but stresses that Belgian farmers are already making efforts by transforming their surplus or unwanted food into livestock feed. “
Marc Tarabella (Socialist Party) points out the possibility of “smart labels”, which provide information about the actual freshness of the food.