16 Million people suffer from food poverty in the EU, while 100 million tons of foodstuff is destroyed

More than 100 million tons of foodstuffs are wasted each year in Europe: we need to stop throwing away good food and start giving it to charities.

Last week, I signed a written declaration encouraging the donation of unsold consumable food to charities. Currently, one in four Europeans (125 million) are at risk of poverty, whilst 16 million suffer from food poverty every day. This is an astonishing statistic when you consider that 100 million tons of perfectly edible food are wasted each year.

Our consumption habits mean that a great deal of consumable supermarket food is removed from sale and destroyed. This is often fruit and vegetables whose appearance is deemed substandard or products that are close to sell-by dates. When combined, this amounts to millions of tons of food thrown away each year. An appalling statistic when you consider that an estimated 900,000 people accessed UK food banks last year (Trussell Trust).

According to a report published by the European Economic and Social Committee in June 2014, several EU countries are already taking steps to encourage the delivery of unsold food to charities. For this reason, the Commission and Council have been called upon to examine the possibility of adopting, in cooperation with the food sector, an EU-wide scheme to encourage supermarkets to distribute unsold consumable food to charities.

My signing of this declaration seeks to encourage the Commission and Council to look favourably on these recommendations. Moreover, this proposal further seeks to save resources put into wasted food. In short, we have to start putting food on the table and not in the bin!