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.

Unfair trading practices (UTPs) in the business-to-business food supply chain

Question for written answer to the Commission – 6th November 2014 – Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE)

Over the past month there has been a series of allegations made against the UK supermarket chain Tesco. The UK Government’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched an official criminal investigation into Tesco, taking over from an already existent investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Duncan Swift, who leads the Food Advisory Group at respected audit firm Moore Stephens LLP, has emphasised that ‘supermarket buyers, operating in trading rooms similar to those operated by the banks and investment companies’ have placed pressure on supply chains. If buyer bonuses are influencing the price of Tesco’s purchasing then it is clear that the size and behaviour of supermarkets is having an unfair impact on the amount farmers receive for their produce.

1. Under current EC law, is it legal for supermarkets to operate a ‘buyer bonus’ scheme as currently used by Tesco?

2. If it can be proven that such practices are having an adverse impact on the prices which producers receive, does the Commission intend to reconsider its position on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) which, it concluded in June 2014, were an issue best left for national governments?

Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission – 5th February 2015

In July 2013, the Commission adopted a communication Tackling unfair trading practices (UTPs) in the business-to-business food supply chain. The communication suggests a set of principles of best practice as the basis for a common understanding between Member States in terms of what does and does not constitute unfair practices. Buyer bonuses, offered by retailers to their employees, are not specifically covered by the communication and there is also no legislation at EU level that prohibits such bonuses.

The communication calls on Member States to ensure that rules against UTPs can be enforced effectively. In the specific case of the United Kingdom, an enforcement authority responsible for tackling UTPs already exists, namely the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

Over the following year, the Commission will assess whether Member States have established enforcement frameworks against UTPs and to which degree these are effective on the basis of the criteria defined in the communication. The Commission will report the findings of this assessment to the European Parliament and Council and, at that stage, decide whether further action at EU level is necessary.

(Source: European Parliament)