In 2013, food waste was designated as one of the priorities of EESC President, Henri Malosse.
Following the adoption, in March 2013, of the EESC opinion on the "Civil society's contribution to a strategy for prevention and reduction of food losses and food waste" the Committee decided to focus on the potential of using food donations in order to reduce food waste as this was an area that still remained largely untapped.
Food donation is recognised as an effective lever in reducing the amount of edible surplus food going to waste and counteracting against food poverty, especially in times of economic and financial crisis.
Nevertheless, at present, the amount of food redistributed to food banks and charities remains a small fraction of the edible surplus food available in the EU, as food donation faces a number of legislative, administrative and practical barriers.
As a first step, the EESC contracted a Comparative Study on EU Member States’ legislation and practices on food donation. This study provides an analysis of key hurdles preventing food donation in the EU, identifies best practices in the field and develops recommendations on how to legislate or interpret legislation in order to facilitate food donation.
The recommendations from the study were presented and discussed on 7 July 2014 during the conference "Food donation: Fighting food poverty and addressing food waste".