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Federal Council Decision:

German states call for measures against food waste

With a resolution passed on the initiative of Lower Saxony, the Bundesrat is advocating a statutory obligation to reduce food waste. This was decided by the state chamber in its plenary session on September 17, 2021.

Halving of waste is the goal
The reduction of food waste is an ethical, ecological and economic challenge, he said. Germany should halve food waste by 2030, he said. To make the most of the value of food resources, the Bundesrat therefore believes it is necessary to oblige economic operators at all levels of production and distribution to avoid food waste. A massive reduction in food waste would be an effective contribution to greater climate protection, the states said. However, the voluntary approaches currently in use are not sufficiently effective, they said.

Call for legislative measures
Against this background, the states are calling on the German government to take concrete action:

  • Examine limiting civil and criminal liability for food donations, and introduce further tax incentives for giving away food that is still edible and whose best-before date has already expired (in the short term),
  • Review of the regulations on the best-before date at EU level - in particular with a view to whether a best-before date is dispensable for individual product groups,
  • Targeted support for food banks and food-sharing organizations through funding programs and strengthening of technical innovations that offer retailers an incentive to sell food at reduced prices when the best-before date is approaching,
  • Distinguish marketing and quality standards imposed by law at the EU level from voluntary quality standards, working towards a waiver by operators of such standards that relate to the mere appearance of the food,
  • Inclusion of the topic of food appreciation in the training and study regulations of all professional groups working in the field of food and nutrition, area-wide further and advanced training for specialists and offers of nutrition and consumer education in the (pre-)school and school areas,
  • Consideration of the avoidance of food waste in public tenders,
  • Development of a suitable method for quantifying food waste and regular reports on its status.

Next steps
The resolution has been forwarded to the federal government. It will decide when to address the Bundesrat's demands. There are no fixed deadlines for this.


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