Reducing food waste is in society’s common interest, Minister of Agriculture István Nagy said on Wednesday.
Around one-third of food produced for human consumption is wasted globally, with some 90 million tonnes of food in the European Union and 600,000 tonnes in Hungary ending up in landfill each year, the agriculture ministry cited Nagy as saying. The minister noted that the EU this year had allowed the donation of unsold food to the needy. This regulation, he said, increased the amount of food that could be saved and therefore required the development of food redistribution systems. Nagy noted that this was the aim of a law passed in Hungary earlier this month requiring retailers to save food by offering it to the needy within 48 hours of its sell-by date. The law, he said, was aimed both at preventing food waste and distributing unsold food to those in need through charity organisations.
Under the amendment to the law regulating supermarkets, grocery chains will have the option of donating the food to a new state-owned nonprofit, the Food Rescue Centre, or directly to charity organisations. They will also be required to draw up a plan to reduce their food waste and appoint a manager in charge of saving food.