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Food waste cannot be tackled in isolation, says Slow Food

Slow Food has urged the European Commission to take a more holistic view of food sustainability, saying that food waste must be seen as part of broader sustainability issues.

The European Commission called for comments on an EU Communication on Sustainability of the Food System late last year, and Slow Food was one of about 600 organisations to respond. However, the movement, which supports food that is “good, clean and fair”, claims the Commission has concentrated too much on the issue of food waste.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), about 1.3bn tonnes of food is wasted each year – enough to feed about two billion people – and Slow Food agrees that this is a major problem.

“However we cannot mistake food waste as being the compass to achieving a sustainable food system,” writes Marta Messa of Slow Food International on the organisation’s website . “Rather, food waste is one of the symptoms of the current food system. Food is wasted in such quantities precisely because the current food system treats food as a simple commodity.”

The association said it welcomed the Commission’s intention to cut food waste, but called for a broader EU Common Sustainable Food Policy, which would take into account food production, farming and trade, food and environmental quality, health, resource and land management, ecology, social and cultural values, and the shape of the agricultural and food chain.

“For cross-cutting issues it is necessary to use cross-cutting tools,” Messa wrote. “In doing this, it is fundamental to use a holistic approach: curbing food waste is but one of the goals that must be pursued as part of an overall strategy that takes all the other elements into account simultaneously.”

More information on Slow Food’s call for an EU Common Sustainable Food Policy is available online here .

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