Recommendations for policymakers

The following are recommendations for policymakers to:


Avoid food loss along the food chain

  • Develop a harmonised definition and methodology for gathering data and estimating food loss.
  • Pay particular attention to food wastage when developing policy and evaluating applications for new innovations that have the potential to prevent spoilage. The impact on food wastage should be taken into account in the impact assessment for relevant policies.
  • Develop, together with relevant food chain partners, guidelines for Member States to optimise use of food that has been withdrawn (e.g. for quality reasons) but is still safe and suitable for use, with strict adherence to food and feed safety legislation.
  • Focus funding on projects that encourage food and drink production efficiency, as this relates directly to raw material efficiency and food waste prevention.
  • Bear in mind the role of packaging in protecting food and thereby preventing food waste in packaging-related policies.

Support food and drink manufacturers as they help farmers improve food safety and quality, and reduce food loss:

  • Support public-private partnerships to improve infrastructure and training for farmers to improve food safety and quality, and reduce food loss.
  • Increase the focus of EU development cooperation on measures to prevent food wastage in developing and low-income countries (e.g. infrastructure and storage facilities, safe food handling training, tailored packaging solutions).

Help consumers reduce food waste

  • Improve consumer understanding of date labels by raising awareness of date labels and disseminating date label guidance (e.g. further disseminate the European Commission’s multilingual consumer guidance).


  • Develop EU Food Donation Guidelines for food donors and food redistribution organisations on how to comply with EU Food Hygiene legislation.
  • Harmonise the interpretation of Articles 16 and 74 of the VAT Directive, confirming that the VAT rate should be fairly low, or even close to zero, for donated food close to its “best before” date or not fit for sale.
  • Allow a tax deduction for food donations.
  • Explore how Good Samaritan Food Donation laws, which exempt food redistribution organisations and donors from prosecution if food is donated in good faith, can support food donations, while ensuring that donated food is safe.
  • Support uptake of the European Technology Platform on Food for Life’s Strategic Research Agenda 2007-2020 (2013-2020 and Beyond) to encourage new food innovation.  


  • Clearly define by-products and allow for a flexible policy framework in cross-compliance with the Waste Framework Directive.
  • Help industry identify opportunities to centralise food wastage and by-product utilisation, especially where insufficient scale hampers the economic feasibility of internal utilisation.


Enrich soil

  • Increase awareness among food operators and consumers that soil fertility is a prerequisite for good yields in food production and that closing the loop by returning nutrients to the soil is a useful option.

Use food loss and by-products to produce renewable energy

  • Identify opportunities to centralise biogas production from food and drink facilities locally.