400,000 Tons of Food Per Year Thrown Out in Republic of Croatia?

Lauren Simmonds

Just how much food are Croats throwing our on a yearly basis? What with world hunger growing at an alarming rate, the numbers are concerning both on a global and a national scale.

As Morski writes on the 29th of May, 2019, according to FAO estimates, around one-third of the food produced annually (1.2 billion tons) is thrown out globally, which means that across the world, over 1 trillion dollars worth of food is simply discarded.

In the Republic of Croatia alone, a massive 400,000 tons are being thrown out per year, of which 40,000 tons is due to a lack of Croats understanding or paying proper attention to the duration/expiry dates of certain products. This problem was addressed during the second day of the thirteenth Conference on Food Safety and Quality, organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

Sanja Kolarić Kravar from the Ministry of Agriculture presented a plan to prevent the continuation of food wastage, pointing out that we need to focus on responsible production and consumption in order to reduce the amount we throw out in general, and in turn increase the donation of products to those in a lesser economic position.

”Over the last couple of years, we’ve been actively developing a donation system and we’re looking at what needs to be done in order to make it function better. An e-donation platform has been established which will relieve the burden from donors, align the supply and the need, and enable the more transparent distribution of food. The system has already been tested and I’d like to invite all donors and moderators to sign up.It’s a virtual food bank that will allow us to throw out as little as possible,” stated Kolarić Kravar, adding that tax relief regarding this burning issue is the plan.

”In developed countries, about forty percent of food in the sales and consumption phase is thrown out, and in developing countries, forty percent is thrown out during the production phase. Fruit and vegetables are thrown out the most, followed by fish and meat. On the basis of households, about 1,800 dollars of food is thrown out, and this ultimately has an impact on climate change,” said Darja Sokolić of the Croatian Agriculture and Food Agency.

She also presented a study which involved samples of food categories on the Croatian market which showed that products with a very long shelf life (coffee, salt, sugar, rice, honey…), in the case they’ve been properly stocked, are fine for human consumption for up to one year after the “best before” label claims they are.

The second category includes long term durability products that retain all of their properties for up to two months after their expiry dates (cereals, sweets, oil…), and products with a limited and short duration should not be consumed at all after the expiry of the prescribed deadlines (dairy products, fresh meat, fish…).

”Small manufacturers often ask about the expiration time of their products, and I see this as an opportunity for laboratories to help them out. Guidelines for food donors are in the process of being developed, and workshops on safe food handling will be held next month. Intermediaries and end-users need to be educated in order to throw out as little food as possible,” Sokolić concluded.

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