The Basque Government and the Basque Foundation for Food Safety Elika have launched the campaign Food is not thrown away to raise public awareness about food waste and avoid it.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy, Bittor Oroz, and the director of Elika, Arantza Madariaga, presented the campaign today, which will last until December 20.
During three weeks messages and recommendations will be disseminated through the written and digital press, radio spots, social networks, buses and marquees of the three Basque capitals. It is, on the one hand, to make society aware of the problem and to explain the consequences of “throwing away” a food and, on the other, to give simple solutions or recommendations so that consumers can contribute to reducing waste food.
Around 20% of food produced in the EU is lost or wastedOn the other hand, every two days some 33 million people cannot afford a quality meal. What’s more, food waste has a huge environmental impactas it accounts for around 6% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions and places an unnecessary burden on limited natural resources such as land and water use.
With these data in hand, the Basque Government launched the initiative a few months ago Basque Green Deal-Pacto Verde de Euskadi to promote the European Green Deal. This initiative marks the roadmap that the CAV will follow to overcome the climate crisis and achieve a more inclusive and sustainable development. Among the objectives of the Pact is the reduction of food waste, in line with the criteria established by the UN in its Sustainable Development Goals, whose Goal 12.3 establishes that, by 2030, the amount of food per capita must be “halved that are wasted at retail and among consumers, and reduce food losses in production and supply chains. “
At the beginning of 2018, the Basque Government through Elika, the Basque Foundation for Food Safety, carried out the design and implementation of the Basque Strategy against Food Waste, in order to respond to objective 12.3 of the UN aligning it with the Circular Food Strategies, Waste Reduction and with the Basque Food and Gastronomy Strategic Plan.
The bell Food is not thrown away it is framed, precisely, in said Basque Strategy against Food Waste.
Wastage diagnosis underway
Between 2019 and 2020, the working group coordinated by ELIKA, and which brings together Hazi, Azti, IHOBE, Cluster de la Alimentos de Euskadi and Neiker, carried out a first design and definition of the methodology for the diagnosis of waste in the BAC and As a first step in the diagnosis, the primary sector (agriculture and livestock) and the food sector have been analyzed, which according to FAO accounts for 30% of the waste of the entire world food chain.
In the primary sector, for example, it is estimated that 3.70% of the total produced is lost. These losses are distributed in the agricultural subsectors, with 7.10% in agriculture and 3% in livestock, being horticulture the agricultural activity that generates the greatest loss.
The greatest loss in agriculture occurs at harvest or in the production process (40%), followed by damage from weather conditions, pests, etc. (29.1%) and non-compliance with quality standards (16.4%). More than half of these losses (57.6%) are not used at all and the rest are mainly dedicated to grazing animals, only 3.4% are sent to food banks.
In the case of livestock, the main causes of losses are similar: in production or collection (33.33%), damage to the product (27.45%) and non-adaptation to standards (13.73 %). Almost half of these losses (47.62%) are not used, 19.05% go to animal feed and 2.38% are sent to food banks.
The food industry is the second link in the agri-food chain and this is reflected in the study. According to initial data, 5.36% of the volume produced is lost. On the contrary, the report highlights that companies are aware of the economic, social and environmental impact of food waste and are working to reduce it. The activities of major waste are the meat industry, other food industries and bread milling.
Regarding the causes, 63.2% of the losses occur in the production process, 19.3% in quality controls and 12.3% due to production surpluses. 25% of these losses go to the extraction of value-added ingredients, 21% to food and 14% to the food bank.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.