Former foodstuffs processors back proposed EU waste targets

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© istock
© istock

Related tags Food waste European union

The UK’s association for former foodstuffs processing has welcomed the recent proposal by MEPs to halve food waste by 2030. 

Food waste in the EU is estimated at 89 million tons, or 180 kg per capita per year. EU Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) MEPs have advocated an EU food waste reduction target of 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to 2014.

Paul Featherstone, chairman of the UK Former Foodstuffs Processors Association (UKFFPA), a group representing companies that takes materials that would have been sent to waste and turn them into livestock feedstuffs, said the ENVI MEPS is recognizing the importance of taking a ‘farm-to-fork’ approach to food waste, rather just targeting retailers and consumers.

In the UK, over 650,000 tons of former foodstuffs are processed each year to create livestock feed worth some £110m ($138m)

Along with advocating a reduction in food waste, the ENVI MEPs said the share of waste to be recycled should be raised to 70% by 2030, from 44% today, while landfilling, which they said has a big environmental impact, should be limited to 5%.

The entire EU Parliament will vote on the ENVI committee’s waste proposals at the 13-16 March 2017 plenary session in Strasbourg.

Commission guidance on the use of former foodstuffs in feed 

UKFFPA is a member of the EU wide former foodstuffs lobby group, EFFPA.

The EU Platform on Food Losses & Food Waste, of which EFFPA is a member, held its first meeting in November 2016, at which EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, spoke. He stressed at the event that former foodstuffs are not food waste when safely used as a resource in animal feed.

Andriukaitis said that former foodstuff processing was a food waste prevention strategy and one that contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste by 2030.

At that Platform meeting, the Commission also presented the draft project Guidelines for the Feed Use of Former Foodstuffs”.

EFFPA said it actively supports this initiative, which, it stressed, aims to clarify certain elements in the legal framework of the food-to-feed chain where currently some confusion exists.

It said that some EFFPA members, for example, have seen competent authorities consider a former foodstuff unsuitable for feed use because the food date marking had expired.

The EU organization said it hopes it will be clear from the Commission’s guidance that, though date marking under food legislation may provide an indication as to whether a former foodstuff can safely be used as feed, other parameters more decisively confirm the eligibility of a foodstuff as feed.

Those parameters, it continued, include factors such as the dry matter content of the foodstuff, the logistics network and the processing facility type involved.

As existing EU legislation was not developed specifically with former foodstuff processing in mind and, therefore, only provides indirect references, explicit interpretation guidance from the Commission could be very helpful," ​added EFFPA.

On 29 March next, EFFPA said it is hosting a workshop focused on practical case studies in relation to interaction along the food-to-feed chain, and it said discussions are likely on the regulatory framework as well.

Dairy group seeks greater clarity 

Last month, the European Dairy Association (EDA) said it appreciates the overall idea conveyed by the newly issued draft Commission guidelines for use of former foodstuffs as feed and what appears to be its general outcome - that former foodstuffs which fall under the animal by-products (ABP) regulation are part of the food and feed legislation.

"Nevertheless, the document leaves many issues relevant to the dairy sector unclarified. Hence, [the] EDA would ask for a more ambitious guidance, [one that can] shed light onto the grey zones described in the EDA position paper​ on this topic,"​ said the dairy group.

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