Make food donations exempt from VAT, urges Alyn

The European Parliament has today (Tuesday) backed a report calling for drastic measures in tackling food waste, aiming to slash food waste by 50% by 2030. This is designed to help tackle the 1.3 billion tons, or approximately one third of all food produced for human consumption, that is wasted every year.

MEPs voted 623 to 33 to adopt the Initiative on Resource Efficiency, which calls for the European Commission to introduce binding targets for food waste reduction. 

Alyn Smith MEP said:

“This is excellent news for producers and consumers alike. In a world where almost 800 million people go hungry every day, it’s abhorrent to see so much food go to waste. I’m heartened to see the Parliament taking a significant step to tackle this. 

“The EU should coordinate with the Member States to ensure that we don’t let this fall at the wayside. For example, I’m all in favour of making food donations exempt from VAT but that will need more than just EU. 

“Food waste isn’t just about bairns not finishing their dinner or folk being over-optimistic about how many supermarket offers they’ll use before the sell-by date. 

“It strikes at the heart of the debate about food security. Producers tell us that we have to intensify our agriculture to ensure higher yields but this is undermined by a wasteful food chain that eliminates a huge chunk of that food before it even gets to our plates. 

“Current production levels will go a lot further if we fix our broken food supply chain, and this vote is an important first step.”

The report calls for a coordinated policy response at both EU and Member State level, backed up with binding food waste reduction targets. 

The targets include:
* A call on Member States to take measures required to achieve an EU food waste reduction target of 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030 compared to the 2014 baseline
* A call on the Commission to examine the possibility of setting up binding Union-wide food waste reduction targets to be met by 2025 and 2030. 
* The report also calls for the Council and Commission to designate a European year against food waste. 

The EU has produced an infographics on food waste in the EU, available here: 

According to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), food waste has a global carbon footprint of about 8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans. For every kilo of food produced, 4.5 kilos of CO2 are released into the atmosphere.