Romania’s food waste law suspended for further clarification

The food waste law was suspended for further clarification of some of its provisions and implementation guidelines through an emergency ordinance issued on June 30.

The law was due to come into force on May 27 but its implementation guidelines had not been approved.

In its current form, it stipulates that retailers and producers that fail to sell food products three days before their expiration are compelled to donate them to non-profit organizations or to city halls to support poor families, or to sell them to social enterprises at 3% of their acquisition or production cost.

“Following meetings organized by the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry with representatives of the food industry associations to draft the implementation guidelines, several flaws in applying the law were highlighted. Thus, it is not clearly stipulated which are the economic operators that need to apply this law as the provision has a general character. The measures foreseen to reduce food waste are not in agreement with Romanian reality and do not have a clear, imperative nature,” the Government said in motivating the decision to suspend the law.

The phrasing “close to the expiration date” is seen as relative and provisions on selling products at 3% plus VAT of their acquisition price can create a parallel network for selling food products that fall under the food waste reduction provisions. At the same time, there are no clear provisions concerning the authorities that establish infringements and levy sanctions, and this year’s budget does not include the financial resources needed to apply the law, according to the same motivating document.

The food waste law stipulated fines of RON 1,000 (EUR 223) to RON 3,000 (EUR 667) for microenterprises, of RON 3,000 (EUR 667) to RON 6,000 (EUR 1,334) for SMEs, and of RON 6,000 (EUR 1,334) to RON 10,000 (EUR 2,223) for large enterprises infringing its provisions.

Romanian Agriculture Ministry postpones implementation of food waste law

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