Government to list cases in which expired food is allowed to be distributed
On Thursday, 25 October, members of Latvian Saeima approved amendments to the Law on the Supervision of the Handling of Food in the third reading. Approved amendments make it a duty for the Cabinet of Ministers to list cases in which food products will be allowed to be distributed after the end of their expiry term, as reported by Saeima press-service.
Until now, the law stated that food that is past its expiry date is to be considered invalid for distribution. This applies to food with «Use before…» label and food with a «Best before…» label. The approved law delegates to the government the duty to list product groups, their distribution and the order under which food products are allowed to be distributed after passing the recommended expiry date. Regulations will come to force 1 July 2019.
EU regulations do not state that food that is past its minimal expiry period is considered invalid for distribution and consumption. With that, to reduce food waste, it is necessary to establish the period of time within which it would be allowed to distribute almost food products by donating them to charity organizations, for example, as mentioned in the annotation to the legislative draft. Saeima notes that changes were added based on EU guidelines for food product donations, which state that food waste has a major economic and social impact. Additionally, it creates excessive pressure on finite natural resources and the environment. According to information from UN Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately one-third of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted.