European Commission proposes new food waste reduction targets


Food waste

The European Commission says it hopes to strengthen the resilience of EU food systems and farming as part of a new package of measures for the sustainable use of key natural resources.

To accelerate the EU’s progress in reducing food waste, the Commission has proposed that Member States reduce food waste by 10% in processing and manufacturing and by 30% (per capita) in retail and consumption (restaurants, food services and households) by 2030.

According to the Commission, almost 59 million tonnes of food (131 kg/inhabitant) are wasted in the EU each year with an estimated market value of €132 billion. 53% of food waste is generated by households and 20% by the processing and manufacturing sector.

The Commission says that 60 to 70% of soils in the EU are currently unhealthy. As part of the new measures, the Commission will adopt a soil monitoring law, which it says will help the EU achieve “healthy soils” by 2050 by gathering data on the health of soils and making it available to farmers and other soil managers. 

We want to give our farmers the tools to produce healthy and safe food.

The Commission says the proposals will enable the safe use of technical progress in new genomic techniques and allow the development of climate-resilient crops, reduce the use of chemical pesticides and ensure more sustainable, high-quality and diverse seeds and reproductive material for plants and forests.

The proposal does not impose any direct obligations on landowners and land managers including farmers. The proposals will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council.

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, commented: “We want to give our farmers the tools to produce healthy and safe food, adapted to our changing climatic conditions and with respect for our planet. This includes new rules on the use of new genomic techniques and modernised rules on plants and forest seeds to boost diversity, sustainable practices, food security and drive EU competitiveness.

“We are also stepping up our action against food waste to minimise food losses and reinforce our food security. We have an opportunity now to plan for the future, redesign the way we produce and consume our food and offer a larger choice of safe, sustainable and nutritious products to our citizens. This is also an opportunity for the EU farming sector and the food industry to take the lead on making sustainability their bankable trademark and stay ahead of the curve globally.”

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