Berlin: (hib / EIS): In the view of Petra Teitscheid (University of Applied Sciences Münster, germany) the mantra of diversity, fresh look and constant availability of food is a major cause of food waste. If it was the aim to reduce food waste in future, "everybody must contribute something," the scientist said on Monday afternoon at a public hearing of the Committee for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection on the issue of food waste. This way Teitscheid emphasized that she sees not only a duty on side of the consumers.
Consumers need more information
Franz-Martin Rausch from the Federal Association of German food retailers argued that consumers need to be better informed about the meaning of the minimum durability date of products. This way, it could be avoided that eligible food finds its way into the rubbish bin only due to the decline of the minimum durability date.
Klaus-Peter Feller of the Federation of German Food Industry agreed: "Consumers must be empowered to deal carefully with food." From about eleven million tons of discarded food approximately 6.6 million tons would be disposed of in household garbage. Feller suggested engaging more in the education of consumers, by starting in early-childhood education in schools and therewith raising awareness of the issue. He, however, rejected the claim to abolish the minimum durability date. "It differentiates itself clearly from the expiration date and is to be understood."
Entrepreneurs do not want food waste because it is expensive
Jürgen Benad from the German Hotel and Restaurant Association made clear that it was not in the interest of the catering industry to waste food. Firstly, the commercial disposal is expensive and secondly, no entrepreneur would like to hold on to the cost of unused food. "The transfer of leftovers food to charity organizations, such as “Die Tafel” is not easy," he said. Food that was not sold to guests is subject to strict regulations if it is intended to give it away for good causes. "A risk, which is feared by gastronomes." For example, it is to be taken care of that the cold chain is not interrupted, that disinfection and hygiene regulations are observed, privacy laws complied with. That results in extra cost and extra responsibility.
Demand for abolishment of norms
The journalist Stefan Kreutzberger contradicted his previous speaker, however, in the statement that the problem is primarily a problem on the side of consumers. "It must also be looked at the fields," he said. Many foods were plowed under, because they do not meet the standards or prices were not good enough. He criticized that "these are merely not regarded as a food, so that is clear that in studies only the consumer remains”. He also believed that the retail industry is not interested in how much the customer would throw away: "The only thing that matters is that a lot is sold." Kreuzberg suggested relaxing the standards that deal with the outer appearance of food. In this manner, different quality levels of foods could be offered without prior exclusion of "ugly" carrots or cucumbers.
Journalist Valentin Thurn blamed the demand for diversity, fresh look and constant availability of food as a major cause of waste and criticized the food and retail industry for not taking over own responsibility by only focusing criticism on consumers. Consumers should be included to the same extent as producers and the industry. Thurn advocated that the standard-setting for food will be abolished, the discarding of food will be more expensive and that the re-use will be strengthened.
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