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Waste not, want not - how can the EU prevent food waste?

The House of Lords European Union Committee has today launched a new inquiry into the EU's contribution to food waste prevention. It is estimated that up 89 million tonnes of food is wasted in Europe every year and the Committee will look at the progress the European Commission has made toward its target of halving food waste in Europe by 2020.

The Committee is inviting written evidence on the issue by 27 September 2013. Some the questions it is seeking responses on include:

  • Why is food waste a significant issue to be tackled and how does it fit with wider objectives of sustainable, inclusive and smart economic growth?
  • How should food waste be defined and how can it be monitored?
  • What are the principle causes of food waste in the EU? What role can EU regulation and guidance play in preventing it?
  • What economic drivers are in place to prevent food waste? What further efforts would be desirable?
  • How realistic is the Commission's aspiration to half food waste by 2020?
  • What are the economic, social and environmental implications of food waste prevention?

Commenting, Baroness Scott, Chair of the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy, said:

“It is shocking to think that 89 million tonnes of food is wasted in Europe every year. That amounts to 180kg of food thrown away by every man, woman and child across the EU.

“The European Commission has set an ambitious target to reduce food waste. Reducing 89 million tonnes by half by 2020 would be a massive achievement. It remains to be seen, however, whether it can live up to that ambition.

“Our inquiry will look at what can be done to help prevent food waste, what the economic impact of significant reduction in food waste would be and how we can ensure any reduction in the wastage of food is measured accurately. We are inviting written evidence to be received by 27 September.”

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