New European regulation on food donation
The Commission adopted new guidelines to facilitate food donation in the EU, a key deliverable of the Circular Economy Action Plan. The aim is to clarify relevant EU legislation and help lift barriers to food donation. Developed in consultation with the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, the EU food donation guidelines seek to:
• facilitate compliance of providers and recipients of surplus food with relevant requirements laid down in the EU regulatory framework (e.g. food safety, food hygiene, traceability, liability, VAT, etc.)
• promote common interpretation by regulatory authorities in the EU Member States of EU rules applying to the redistribution of surplus food.
The EU guidelines will help donors and recipients of surplus food to make sure that they respect relevant requirements such as food hygiene and food information to consumers, thereby ensuring safe food donation practices. The guidelines also promote common interpretation of EU rules applicable to food donation, including those related to VAT.
In EU around 550.000 tons of food are redistributed to 6.1 million people by food banks, but that's only a fraction of the estimated volume of food which Europe could redistributed to prevent food waste and help fight food poverty. The new guidelines adopted will not only help industry and charity organisations to make their job easier, but also become a reference for national authorities and operators to facilitate food donation in the EU. The EU guidelines were developed by the Commission in close cooperation with the members of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste bringing together Member States, international organisations, industry, food banks and other charity organisations.
The Commission will also launch a pilot project to further assess food donation practices in the Member States and promote the dissemination and uptake of the EU food donation guidelines. A subgroup of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, dedicated to the issue of food donation, supports the Commission's work in this area and facilitates sharing of experience and best practice amongst Platform members.
Author: Marco Matrisciano (Abis - The Academy of Business in Society)