Spain: the keys to the bill to curb food wastage
Wasting food is serious. But wasting it in a hungry world is even worse. Breaking out of this cycle of waste depends on citizens and food management at home, as well as on the commitment of each and every one of the agents in the food chain. And this is precisely the objective of the future Food Prevention and Waste Law that has just been enacted in Spain: to achieve the structural reforms we need to make it a reality to stop throwing food away.
The regulation, which is expected to come into force in January 2023, provides solutions along the entire food chain to reduce loss and waste by at least 20%, from production to consumption. In this way, a further step would be taken in the commitment to achieve SDG 12.3 of the UN Agenda 2030, which aims to halve food waste per capita worldwide which, in 2020, reached 31 kilos per person in Spain.
These are the keys to the future law:
Raising awareness in order to prevent
It aims to raise awareness, train and rally all agents in the food chain in proper food management through information and prevention campaigns. As for the public, it encourages them to buy products with an expiration or best-before date. This point is fundamental, especially if we take into account that 9 million tons of food end up in the waste bin in the European Union (10% of all the food we waste). Source: European Commission.
A hierarchy of priorities: from donating to generating energy
Food that is found to be optimal for consumption will be donated to vulnerable people, redistributed or transformed into by-products (such as juices or jams). Those that do not meet the conditions for human consumption will be used to feed animals or as by-products for other industries. Only then will they be applied in the production of compost, biogas or other fuels.
Different types of obligations that apply to food industries
Restaurants, bars and supermarkets should have a plan for the prevention of food losses and food waste that includes donations, encourage sales lines with “ugly” and bulk products, and promote the consumption of seasonal, local and organic products.
In turn, catering companies will have to offer free, environmentally friendly packaging so that customers can take away food that has not been consumed.
Companies and social initiative entities and non-profit organizations, for their part, must guarantee the traceability of donated products by means of a system for registering incoming and outgoing food received and delivered.
A powerful sanctioning regime
The regulations provide for fines for those who do not follow the regulations, ranging from €2,001 to €60,000.
A national plan to control wastage
The Ministry of Agriculture will approve a National Plan for the control of food losses and food waste, which will present the general objectives and priorities of control tasks and will be reviewed every four years.
An annual report for further improvement
Each year, the Ministry of Agriculture will publish a report on the results of the implementation of the National Plan and will also include data on the environmental impact.
The current figures are not what we expect. But the good news is that bringing them to a minimum is possible and that, in doing so, we all win; we reduce the environmental footprint, we take care of resources and we feed more people.