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Parliamentary questions
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14 March 2013
E-002939-13
Question for written answer E-002939-13
to the Commission
Rule 117
Marc Tarabella (S&D)

 Subject:  Changing the tax system to encourage supermarkets to redistribute food
 Answer in writing 

Some supermarket chains have been instructed by food companies to dump all food products containing horsemeat. It is outrageous that food companies should prefer to throw out perfectly good food, rather than donating it to charities or selling it at a reduced price to families who find it difficult to make ends meet. It would appear that supermarkets are keener to feed rats than people.

It should not be forgotten that millions of people depend entirely on EU aid for the most deprived in order to survive and that this number is continuing to grow even as European resources set aside to address this problem are continuing to dwindle.

This specific issue is part of a larger problem, however: many supermarkets prefer to throw away unsold produce, rather than redistributing it or giving it to charity.

One reason for this is VAT. Supermarkets that throw out produce do not pay VAT, while those that redistribute produce do. This system was not designed for an era in which overproduction and waste has reached astronomical levels, what is more against the backdrop of a deep economic and social crisis.

It is now vital, therefore, that the authorities should take measures that incentivise food redistribution and that combat waste, rather than encouraging it.

1. What view does the Commission take of the idea of introducing a tailored VAT system that would encourage rather than discourage food redistribution?

2. Does the Commission intend make every effort to remedy the current state of affairs and put an end to the colossal wastage of food that could be used to help the needy and the less fortunate?

3. What forms of pressure does the Commission intend to exert (through diplomacy, legislation, etc.)?

Original language of question: FROJ C 6 E, 10/01/2014
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