European Commission adopts method to measure food waste

Methodology confirms former foodstuff processing can be part of national food waste prevention action plans.

May 6, 2019

2 Min Read
European Commission adopts method to measure food waste
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The European Commission adopted May 6 common methodology for the uniform measurement of food waste across the European Union.

The development of the food waste measurement methodology stems from the revised Waste Framework Directive, which lays down an obligation for EU member states to annually submit the measured levels of food waste to the commission. Substances destined for use as feed materials, including former foodstuffs, are excluded from the scope of obligatory food waste measurement. For a better understanding of the material flows related to food and the planning of targeted food waste prevention policies, member states have the possibility of reporting information on the feed use of former foodstuffs on a voluntary basis.

“It was already clear that former foodstuff processing was part of the solution when it comes to preventing food waste. This obligation for member states to report on food waste statistics and implement national food waste prevention action plans should provide an incentive to operators at food manufacturing and retail levels to consider engaging with former foodstuff processors as well as reconsider the referral of feed-eligible foodstuffs to bioenergy, which would clearly count as food waste,” European Former Foodstuff Processors Assn. (EFFPA) president Paul Featherstone said.

EFFPA represents four national associations, three full member companies, two associate member companies and one observer company. EFFPA estimates that approximately 3.5 million metric tons of former foodstuffs are processed into animal feed annually in the EU and that turnover of the European former foodstuff sector industry was more than 1 billion euros for 2018.

At the Sixth EU Food Waste & Food Losses Platform, the European Commission made clear that in the effort to prevent food waste, increased risk regarding food and feed safety is not acceptable.

Following a question on the challenges the EU has faced in the past over animal feed safety and how to ensure that the same mistakes are not made again as the spread of African swine fever encroaches, European Commission vice president Jyrki Katainen said: “The EU is a superpower of food safety and animal health. Our citizens expect no less, and this must always be maintained.”

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