The Italian Law against food waste

Today I receive and publish an interesting article about the Italian food waste law recently issued: it allows food business operators to donate to other entities foodstuffs remained unsold, also if they passed the “best before” date (never the “use by”) and if they cannot be sold due to non compliant labels (beside errors on allergens and “use by” date). The contribute comes from Mariagrazia Semprebon – AgriLegal Consulting.

On 14th September 2016, in Italy, it came into effect the Law No. 166/2016, concerning provisions on the donation and distribution of food and pharmaceutical to limit food waste. The standard, once approved definitively, was published in the Official Journal of the Italian Republic on the 30th of August 2016.

This Act pursues the purpose “to reduce waste for each of the stages of production, processing, distribution and administration of food, pharmaceuticals and other products, through the implementation of some priorities”.

The rule is followed by a list of these priorities:

  • Promoting recovery and donation of food surpluses for solidarity purpose;
  • Promoting recovery and donation of pharmaceuticals and other products for solidarity purpose;
  • Contributing to limit the negative impacts on environment and natural resources, reducing the production of waste and promoting reuse and recycling to extend the products life cycle;
  • Contributing to achieve of the general objectives set by the National Waste Prevention Program” (who was adopted pursuant Article 180, paragraph 1-bis of the Decree Legislative April 3, 2006, No. 152) and by the “National Food Waste Prevention Plan” contained therein, and contributing to the “reduction of the amount” of biodegradable waste presently consigned for landfill sites;
  • Contributing to information, consumer awareness (with particular reference to younger generations) and research on the matters within the scope of this law.

What can be donated?

  • Food, agricultural and agri-food goods that remain unsold or discarded from the food supply chain for commercial or aesthetic reasons, or proximity to the expiry date;
  • Food products that have passed the date of minimum durability, if the packaging integrity and suitable storage conditions are guaranteed.

The destination of the goods suitable for human consumption should be provided to the poorest citizens, the destination of the goods non-suitable for human consumption should be used for animal consumption and/or composting.

For single donation below € 15.000 and in any case if the donor donates perishable foodstuff, it is not required any official document for the validity of the donation. If the donation of greater value does not regard perishable foodstuff, an official electronic communication must be sent to the financial administration offices, indicating date, time and place of goods destination and their total value.

Other important documents to provide are:

  • A transport document serially numbered or an equivalent document;
  • A quarterly statement by the beneficiary on the use of the goods.

Municipalities can apply a special reduction on waste tax to the companies that make these donations.

The Law states also that it is possible for receiving associations to collect free agricultural products directly from the farmers. These donations are carried out by and under the responsibility of the receiving association or non-profit organization. As we have seen the Italian law on the donation of food waste, unlike the French Law No. 138/2016, does not impose the donation of food waste to processors and supermarkets, but establishes several incentives, rationalizations and simplifications for donors and donees.

Veterinary Agreement to boost EU-New Zealand trade in animal products

Technical amendments to the EU-New Zealand Agreement on sanitary measures in live animals and animal products have recently been made to boost existing trade relations. This updated agreement, which has been in place since 1996, is the most advanced international bilateral agreement in the area of animal health, animal welfare and food safety systems.

Key innovative features that will lead to further trade opportunities whilst reducing costs for exporters are:

  • Enhanced equivalence provisions including EU standards for raw milk products;
  • Mutual recognition of microbiological controls and chemical testing standards for seafood;
  • Trade conditions to permit trade in certain products with agreed treatments during disease outbreaks;
  • Reduced physical inspection rates on products;
  • Resumption of fresh pig meat exports to New Zealand; and
  • Simplified certification and a move to electronic certification in 2016.

Worth €427 million in 2014, EU agricultural exports to New Zealand have increased significantly with a 20% annual average growth over the last five years. Several key commodities have also experienced high growth over recent years including pork products and cheese. New Zealand has authorised imports of high value raw milk products, such as Roquefort, Camembert and Emmental and fresh pig meat, from the EU. Both these products have significant potential for growth.  New Zealand was also the very first country in the world to re-authorise exports of EU beef following the BSE crisis.

Other important benefits of cooperation between the EU and New Zealand are:

  • The EU and New Zealand are complementary suppliers of high-quality products.  Because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, their production and exports peak in a way that is counter-cyclical to EU pastoral producers.  This means products from New Zealand complement those from the EU, maintaining year round availability of certain products.
  • The EU is New Zealand’s largest source of imported goods and services.
  • Through the mutual recognition of regionalisation under the Agreement, trade in animal products such as pork to continue, despite recent EU outbreaks of African Swine Fever, from regions that remain unaffected by the disease.

These benefits bring substantial economic incentives and maintain sustainable trade flows between both parties.

For more details:

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/1084 of 18 February 2015 approving on behalf of the European Union certain amendments to Annexes II, V, VII and VIII to the Agreement between the European Community and New Zealand on sanitary measures applicable to trade in live animals and animal products (notified under document C(2015) 797), OJ L 175, 4.7.2015, p. 45–123.

(Source: DG Sante website)