France has prohibited supermarkets from throwing away unwanted food, which may result to a wider action on food waste across Europe.
In July 2016, 600 Members of the European Parliament against 48 voted in favour of bringing forward new laws that would end unfair trading practices by supermarkets to avoid overproduction and food waste.
The parliament’s environment committee also asked in a report to set up a target of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030 which is still subject to the parliament’s approbation.
Simona Bonafe, the report’s author says, “While 800 million people in the world go hungry every day, nearly 100m tonnes of Europe’s food are wasted each year. This is a paradox of our time that is no longer bearable. At last, we have the opportunity to structure our legislation to prevent food waste in the EU.”
According to activists, food waste is responsible for a loss of $940bn per year and it generates 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. FAO studies also show that food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.
European leaders have warmed up to the idea that the EU and the world need to set ambitious and legal binding targets as soon as possible to better tackle hunger and emissions, in extension.
A petition which has almost 1 million signatures now, calls for Europe to follow France in the adoption of a ban to prevent supermarkets from throwing away unsold food and give it instead to food banks and charities.
Also, last week, the first global food loss and waste standard – which can be applied to countries or businesses – was approved at the Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark involving a committee including the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (UN FAO) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Achim Steiner, UNEP’s director states that this new standard to measure food loss and waste will not only help everyone understand just how much food is not making it to our mouths, but will also help set a baseline for appropriate action.
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