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EU will work with food processing sector to reduce waste

By Mark Astley, 24-Nov-2011

Related topics: Regulation and safety

The European Union (EU) will work with processing and packaging industry figures to cut waste and improve food supply chain efficiency, an EU spokesperson said.

The sector-by-sector measures, tabled by an Agricultural and Rural Development Committee resolution, have been suggested in an effort to half food waste in the EU - which currently accounts for around 50% of edible food - by 2025.

To prevent unnecessary food waste in the home and in supermarkets, the committee has suggested that a better range of sizes and materials for food packaging should be made available to improve the conservation of food.

The introduction of a dual-date labeling system on food packaging was also recommended to reduce the amount of food wastage.

An EU spokesperson told FoodProductionDaily.com added that although resolution guidelines in relation to packaging are quite clear, “it is difficult to say what this will mean for the food processing industry.”

Best practices

“It is essential that the EU enters into discussions with individuals from the processing, packaging and other sectors, in order to establish the best way to reduce wastage across the EU,” said the spokesperson

“One of the main measures we want to pursue through this resolution is to ensure the improvement of packaging and food conservation, so that we can extend shelf-life across the board, so food doesn’t get wasted.”

“We hope that production, processing, retail, catering and consumer sectors will get together and discuss what the best course of action will be to reduce food wastage in the European Union,” the EU spokesperson added.

Dual-date labeling

The resolution also suggestions to the committee in relation to the introduction of a dual-date labeling system on food packaging – similar to the current UK system - to reduce the potential for food wastage.

A dual-date label, which detail when a product may be sold until (sell-by-date) and the advised date that is may be consumed until (use-by-date).

The proposal contradicts current UK plans to scrap ‘display until’ and ‘sell-by’ dates on food packaging in a bid to reduce food wastage.

Just recommendations

The resolution, drafted by MEP Salvatore Caronna, was presented during a meeting of the EU Agricultural and Rural Development Committee and approved by the committee with 38 votes in favour to one against.

The resolution will now be passed on to the European Parliament, which will decide on the implementation of the measures in December.

“At the moment these are just recommendations, this is where the legislative process begins.”

“This is just a wish list at the moment. The resolution was passed, now it is up to the European Parliament to vote in favour at its next plenary meeting in December.”

“This issue has been neglected for far too long now and this report sends a strong signal that the EU needs to take action now,” said resolution rapporteur Salvatore Caronna.