Livsmedelsdonationer - Och hur lagstiftning bidrar till matsvinn
Sammanfattning: Food waste is a significant environmental, social and economic problem. In order to prevent food waste, both the EU and UN have encouraged grocery stores to donate rather than waste edible foodstuffs that are unable to be sold. However, the foodstuff legislation causes problems. Especially the ambiguous regulations, liability legislation and tax legislation discourage companies from donating foodstuffs. The current legislation, the main obstacles caused by it and some suggested solutions are described and analyzed in this thesis. The foodstuff legislation of the EU has proven to be ambiguous. Many stakeholders cannot point out the relevant legislation that applies to them and find it hard to interpret the ambiguous terms of it. As the legislation is recondite, potential donors choose not to take part in food redistribution. Another consequence of the ambiguities is that foodstuffs are being thrown away in vain, especially because of the legislation regarding date marking. Because of these problems, the EU has published several documents in an attempt to clarify the legislation. The documents might be well-intended but it can be argued that a better solution would be to improve the legislation itself instead. It is possible that these additional documents make navigating the legislation even more difficult as it is no longer enough for the stakeholders to have access to and knowledge regarding the legislation. They also need to understand the clarifying documents. The current tax legislation and the Swedish interpretation of the EU’s tax legislation also lead to food waste as donors have to pay VAT when donating foodstuffs. In other words, donors have to pay for their unwanted foodstuffs to be donated, making throwing away the food cheaper. The EU Commission has encouraged the EU member states to interpret the tax legislation in a way that the VAT lowered, but Sweden does not acquiesce. It does not seem this will change any time soon. Similarly, the liability regulation deters potential donors from donating foodstuffs, because of potential fines in the case of a final consumer suffering injury, as well as the resulting damage to company reputation. According to the regulation, it is the food business operator in whose stage the infringement has taken place, who is primary responsible. In other words donors can even be held responsible in cases where they do not know that an infringement has taken place, i.e. if a consumer unintentionally breaks the cold chain, as the infringement of the hygiene legislation has taken place in the donor’s stage. The EU has therefore suggested introducing a legal principle that excludes the possibility of keeping donors liable for injuries in cases where the donors have donated foodstuffs in good faith. The principle would also exclude liability from recipients (food banks) whom are a part of the redistribution of the foodstuffs. It is possible that the proposed principle would increase the amount of food donations, but the principle might also lead to exposed persons, whom get foodstuffs redistributed to them, getting even more exposed as they would not have anyone to keep liable for potential injuries. It is a consequential political question that must be weighed carefully.
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