Decision for the approval of Methodological Norms for the application of Law no. 217/2016 on food waste reduction

In brief

Government Decision no. 51/2019 for the approval of the Methodological Norms for the application of Law no. 217/2016 on food waste reduction has been published in the Official Gazette no. 101/08.02.2019 ( “GD 51/2019”). The applicability of Law no. 217/2016 on food waste reduction ("Law on food waste reduction") was suspended until 1 February 2019. GD 51/2019 details the preventive measures that economic operators within the food chain can undertake in order to reduce food waste and introduces certain obligations for economic operators and receiving operators applying the provisions of the Law on food waste.

 

In detail

Preventative measures for reducing food waste are presented to economic operators in primary production, processing, storage, distribution and sale, as well as those in the hotel industry and catering sector.

 

Provisions for economic operators

According to the Law on food waste reduction, the preventive measures for food waste to be implemented by economic operators according to the hierarchy indicated in art. 2 par. (2) of the Law on food waste reduction include: responsibility measures for mitigating food waste, reduced price sales, donations, measures for the disposal and use of animal by-products, transformation into compost, biogas and, ultimately, handing over any remaining products to an authorised neutralisation unit.

The Law on food waste reduction recommends in art. 2 par. (3) the implementation of at least two actions to reduce food waste before deciding to neutralise the generated waste.

As such, economic operators can take measures consisting in reduced price sale of food products subject to accelerated sales, under the legislation in force. They can also donate products to final consumers or recipient operators, on a contract basis, at any time during the last 10 days before the expiry date.

Public catering establishments (e.g. restaurants, cake shops, pastries, etc.) can donate cooked / prepared / processed foods to recipient operators and final consumers.

Donations of unpasteurised vegetable and fruit juices, pre-cut vegetables and fruit to final consumers and recipient operators are forbidden. Donations to final consumers of perishable microbiological foods of animal origin (e.g. fresh meat and offal, milk and raw milk products, fish and fresh fishery products, eggs and raw egg products) are also forbidden. Such products can be donated to recipient operators, however, such as social canteens or other public catering establishments operating under Law no. 292/2011, with subsequent modifications and additions.

 

Provisions have also been included on the handing over of animal by-products not destined for human consumption or food products, unfit for human consumption.

For economic operators within the food supply chain, the following obligations have been introduced:

 

  • To establish an annual plan for reducing food waste and present it at the competent authorities’ request. The plan may also be posted (but it is not mandatory) on an economic operator’s website by 31 March 2019;
  • Transmit the annual donor operators report for the period 1 January to 31 December of the previous year to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development ("MARD") by 31 March of each year.

 

Provisions for recipient operators

The receiving operator may donate food as received from donor operators or in the form of cooked / processed food in canteens or other public catering establishments operating under Social Assistance Law no. 292/2011, but only to final consumers. In addition, receiving operators can sell food to final consumers at prices that allow them to cover the annual staff, utility, business and sales activities costs for the donated food.

Receiving operators have to submit an annual report to MARD by 31 March each year.

MARD will periodically publish and update the list of receiving operators, including information such as: the name, address and contact details, etc. In order to be included in the list of receiving operators, a request accompanied by a copy of the veterinary health authorisation document will have to be submitted to MARD, in writing or on-line.

 

Food chain operators involved in the food donation process have to keep a nominal record of their recipients for a period of three years, unless the food products are distributed directly to final consumers.

Source: GD 51/2019 for the approval of Methodological Norms for the application of Law no. 217/2016 on food waste reduction, published in the Official Gazette of Romania no. 101/08.02.2019
 

The takeaway

GD 51/2019 on food waste details the preventive measures that economic operators in the food chain can implement to reduce food waste and a series of their reporting obligations.

 

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