Short opinion on Reducing Food Loss and Waste
by Nastasia Belc,
General Director of The National R&D Institute for Food Bioresources, IBA, Bucharest, Romania
Member of the External Expert Advisory Board of WASTELESS project.
Along the food system food is lost or wasted and this is a complex challenge in the higher and higher resources’ competition context. For avoiding and reducing this loss, changes in the food system business practices and in citizen eating behaviour are needed.
Until recently, there was no common definition of food loss and waste, nor harmonized measurement methods, to support to develop the regional or national specific policies. Since May 2018, once with the revision of European Commission Waste Framework Directive by introducing a definition of “food waste” based on the definition of “food” in the General Food Law and “waste” the situation could be improved during the time, in terms of targeted plans and actions.
Food and Agriculture Organization mentioned that 79% of all food produced is destined for consumption in cities. In this regard, the transformation of urban food systems is important considering that more than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this percentage is expected to increase to more than 70% by 2050. Urbanization is directly linked to the change in demand for good quality, safe and sustainable food but having also connected food waste management challenge which is contributing to the greenhouse gas emissions. Food loss and waste is an environmental issue that can be measured by its carbon footprint. At the same time, food waste landfills reduce arable land and food production, and lost and wasted food stores a quarter of all water used by agriculture each year having a major impact in the main food system resources, such as land and water, thus affecting food and nutritional security.