EU rules former foodstuffs not ‘waste’

The European Commission’s revised Circular Economy package has clarified that former foodstuffs destined to become animal feed should not be classified as waste.

The Commission proposes to exclude all feed materials, including former foodstuffs, from the scope of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC in its new legal proposal on waste. This step shows that former foodstuff processing is recognised as an important link between the food and feed chain and should be part of integrated food and feed safety policies.

Paul Featherstone, group director of surplus food recycler SugaRich and president of the European Former Food Processors Association says the change to the legal framework is part of Europe’s strategy to reduce waste along the entire food chain.

 “Surplus food which is safe to feed to animals is definitely not waste,” he stresses. “The nutrients stay within the human food chain, whether it’s converted to eggs or to milk, which then goes back into human food. Our approach ensures we retain more valuable nutrients in the food chain, helping to improve the quality of livestock and their production, and the foods people subsequently eat.

“A clear, non-waste legal status for former foodstuffs is important, as reprocessing operations can occasionally be interrupted by environmental control authorities who have incorrectly interpreted former foodstuff as ‘waste.’ This clarification will help food businesses reduce the amount of food sent to landfill every year, save costs, turn waste into revenue and lessen environmental damage. The circular economy package once and for all confirms our operations have nothing to do with waste processing or food waste recycling,” Mr Featherstone concludes.