March 9th 2017
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten has today launched a series of measures to tackle food waste in Ireland including the establishment of Ireland's first ever Action Group on Food Waste in the Retail Sector chaired by Eamonn Quinn.
Launching the National Forum on Food Waste hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency this morning Minister Naughten said:
"I am appalled that as a small nation we generate two tonnes of food waste every minute, yet one person in every eight go hungry in Ireland. The damage our appetite for excess is doing to our world is substantial. It is a conundrum of our time that deprivation exists alongside a wasteful culture and what we do about it. Older generations laid much store by the adage 'Waste Not, Want Not'. They understood the seasonal and cyclical nature of abundance and need. In a modern society, where everything is available, all year round and at every price point, new insight is required as to how we can live within the capacity of our planet in terms of the materials we consume and the waste we must manage."
"To make change we must start with the here and now. It is a very human response to look at a problem and conclude that the solution lies with others. If only farmers wouldn't grow too much of the wrong thing; if only supermarkets wouldn't super-discount vegetables; and, if only consumers wouldn't fail to plan every meal. The reality is that we all play a role and we can all be part of the solution. I have launched today a package of food waste prevention initiatives. Each initiative will address a challenge at some point in the supply and consumption chain. I hope, by raising the profile of the issue nationally, that food waste will become an issue of public concern and debate. Factors that often contribute to food waste by consumers is confusion over sell-by and best-before dates. Reduced, or better food packaging also has a role to play - excessive or unsustainably sourced packing forms part of the environmental cost of food. The appearance of fruit and vegetables is known to influence consumer buying. A significant part of total food wastage occurs at the consumer level. Therefore one of the initiatives is the establishment of Ireland's first ever Action Group on Wasted Food in the Retail Sector, Chaired by retail expert Eamonn Quinn. I had the pleasure of addressing the Group today at its inaugural meeting at the National Forum on food Waste," added Naughten.
Minister Denis Naughten's Food Waste Initiatives:
- For families, more financial support for community initiatives to educate householders in reducing food waste and use of the brown bin;
- For business, an Action Group on Wasted Food in the Retail Sector to agree and implement changes in retail to reduce food waste;
- For the agri-food sector, collaboration with Bord Bia's Origin Green programme to ensure agri-food producers give high priority to food waste prevention throughout the food chain – primary producers, food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators;
- For everyone concerned by food waste, a Food Waste Charter which encourages people to express their commitment to fight food waste and to translate that into specific agreed actions.
Information on the Food Waste Charter and all food waste prevention measures supported by the Minister Naughten can be accessed at www.stopfoodwaste.ie.
The full speech by the Minister can be accessed here.
Photos are of Minister Naughten addressing today's Forum
Minister Naughten convening the first Action Group on Food Waste in the Retail Sector
Minister Naughten & Eamonn Quinn (Chair) Action Group on Food Waste in the Retail