Towards a more ecological legislation…

Towards a more ecological legislation…

In the Netherlands, it’s estimated that the quantity of food lost or discarded all along the food chain, from field to plate, is nearly 30 %. The Dutch Ministry of the Economy, Agriculture and Innovation has therefore asked for suggestions about a more flexible application and a possible adaptation of the European standards and laws contributing to the generation of food wastes.

The legal obstacles encountered

After conducting a study, the Wageningen UR centre drew up a list of the obstacles created by the various standards and laws in the food and drink sector which often force the different industrial partners to dispose of products without a genuinely valid reason. These include:

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• The European marketing standards;

• the contamination of foodstuffs;

• the import inspection;

• the phytosanitary policy;

• the novel foods;

• the cooking and freezing of meats;

• the hygiene rules and product liability;

• consumer information on food products;

• the rules and quotas in the fishing sector;

• the use of animal by-products.

A few recommendations

Wageningen UR recommends further and more intelligent standardisation of the information provided to consumers about food, with the objective of avoiding incorrect labels and expiry dates that are too short or illogical and giving clearer indications on what kind of consumption is permitted after the expiry date has passed.

In the catering sector, Wageningen UR proposes extending the 2-hour food guarantee recommended in the European hygiene code. Granting exemptions to this rule would make it possible to throw away far less food.

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