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Parliamentary questions
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3 April 2013
Question for written answer E-003730-13
to the Commission
Rule 117
Dominique Vlasto (PPE)

 Subject:  Combating the problem of food wastage — VAT
 Answer in writing 

The problem of food wastage is growing worse every year, even as basic resources are becoming increasingly scarce and malnutrition is spreading in Europe. Eighty-nine million tonnes of food are thrown away each year (179 kg/year/person), even though most of it is perfectly safe to eat.

At a time when millions of people are dependent on food donations, surely we must think carefully about the causes of food wastage in an effort to reverse this trend and help those most in need.

One such cause often cited is a VAT system that discourages supermarkets from making donations to food banks.

In accordance with Directive 2006/112/EC, a supermarket which throws away food that is near its use-by date or damaged does not pay VAT, whereas one which donates the products concerned to a food bank does.

Given that the Commission is planning to publish a new communication on food wastage in 2013, does it intend to propose a revision of the VAT system as it applies to food donations, in order to combat the problem of food wastage and help those most in need?

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