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Why does the Spanish food sector defend plastic against the packaging decree?

The food sector as a whole –farmers, manufacturers, supermarkets, and hoteliers– has presented objections to the Government's Draft Royal Decree on Containers, defending plastic as an 'essential' material for all of them.

The demands to reduce the use of plastic included in the text prepared by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition go beyond what the European directives say, and representatives of the sector coincide in pointing out to Efeagro that -in their opinion- it's impossible to comply with these objectives in some cases.

The comments - the deadline to present them expired last week - are inspired by the usefulness of plastic as a guarantor of food safety and as a key tool to curb food waste.

The measures included in the decree are very broad, they go far beyond plastic and affect all links in the agri-food chain, which in general accuse the Ministry of trying to impose disproportionate goals that are not justified from the environmental point of view.

Behind these criticisms is a key debate: the sector is committed to recycling plastic and its reuse, improving current rates, while the regulatory project directly seeks its replacement in many cases while reducing deadlines.

Fruits and vegetables, in the eye of the hurricane
The fruit and vegetable sector also objected to the draft, since the project introduces the obligation to present fruits and vegetables without using plastic containers in retail stores one month after it enters into force, although it excludes batches of more than 1.5 kilos and those references that present a risk of deterioration when sold in bulk (such as strawberries, for example).

The sector stated that packaging protects the product from bacteria and microbes, but also helps to delay its oxidation and increase its duration in perfect condition, which has a direct relationship with the fight against food waste, an issue that will also have its own law shortly. Another controversial point refers to the fourth and fifth range, that is, ready-to-eat products and salads. The sector requested they be excluded from the law and stated that this exception had been accepted in France.

The companies also stated that by approving more demanding measures than other EU countries the sector might lose competitiveness when exporting.



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