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Livsmedelsdonationer - Och hur lagstiftning bidrar till matsvinn

Airaksinen, Nadja LU (2018) LAGF03 20181
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
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... (More)
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. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Matsvinn är ett enormt miljömässigt, socialt och ekonomiskt problem. För att förebygga matsvinn har EU och FN uppmuntrat matvaruaffärer att donera ätbara livsmedel, som de av någon anledning inte vill sälja, istället för att slänga dem.

Livsmedelslagstiftningen ställer dock till med problem. Särskilt den otydliga regleringen på området, ansvarsregler och skattebestämmelser avskräcker företag från att delta i livsmedelsdonationer. I den här uppsatsen beskrivs och analyseras både den gällande lagstiftningen, hur den stundtals kan orsaka hinder samt vissa föreslagna lösningar.

EU:s livsmedelslagstiftning har visat sig vara otydlig. Många livsmedelsaktörer vet inte vilka bestämmelser de omfattas av och har svårt att tolka... (More)
Matsvinn är ett enormt miljömässigt, socialt och ekonomiskt problem. För att förebygga matsvinn har EU och FN uppmuntrat matvaruaffärer att donera ätbara livsmedel, som de av någon anledning inte vill sälja, istället för att slänga dem.

Livsmedelslagstiftningen ställer dock till med problem. Särskilt den otydliga regleringen på området, ansvarsregler och skattebestämmelser avskräcker företag från att delta i livsmedelsdonationer. I den här uppsatsen beskrivs och analyseras både den gällande lagstiftningen, hur den stundtals kan orsaka hinder samt vissa föreslagna lösningar.

EU:s livsmedelslagstiftning har visat sig vara otydlig. Många livsmedelsaktörer vet inte vilka bestämmelser de omfattas av och har svårt att tolka lagstiftningens mångtydiga termer, vilket leder till att potentiella givare avstår från att delta i omfördelningsverksamhet. Otydligheterna leder också till att livsmedel slängs i onödan, särskilt pga. reglerna kring datummärkning. Med anledning av dessa problem har EU publicerat en hel del dokument som åsyftar att tydliggöra lagstiftningen. Dokumenten kan vara till hjälp, men det kan ifrågasättas om det inte vore en bättre lösning att istället förbättra lagstiftningen. Det kan nämligen tänkas att dessa ytterligare dokument gör lagstiftningen ännu mer svårtillgänglig, då det för förståelsen inte räcker att aktörerna har tillgång och kunskap om lagstiftningen, utan också behöver förstå de förtydligande dokumenten.

Den gällande skattelagstiftningen och den svenska tolkningen av EU:s skattelagstiftning leder också till matsvinn eftersom givare måste betala moms på livsmedelsdonationer. Med andra ord måste de betala för att ”rädda” livsmedel och därmed förebygga matsvinn, medan det är billigare för dem att slänga livsmedlen. EU-kommissionen har uppmuntrat medlemsstaterna att tolka skattereglerna så att momsen läggs lågt, men Sverige följer inte denna uppmaning. Det verkar inte heller som att några förändringar är på väg inom en snar framtid.

Ansvarsregleringen avskräcker potentiella givare från att donera mat, eftersom de är rädda för att behöva betala och för drabbat företagsanseende ifall en slutkonsument olyckligtvis lider skada av maten till följd av en överträdelse av livsmedelslagstiftningen. Enligt regleringen är den livsmedelsföretagare i vars led överträdelsen skett primärt ansvarig. Givare kan alltså hållas ansvariga i fall där de inte ens vet om att en överträdelse skett, ex. i fall där en konsument oavsiktligt brutit ett livsmedels kylkedja, eftersom överträdelsen av hygienbestämmelserna skett i givarens led.

EU har därför föreslagit ett införande av en rättsprincip som fråntar möjligheten att hålla givare ansvariga för skador i fall där givarna donerat livsmedel i god tro. Principen fråntar även ansvar från mottagare (livsmedelsbanker) som deltar i omfördelningsprocessen. Denna princip skulle kunna tänkas öka antalet livsmedelsdonationer, men samtidigt är det möjligt att den skulle innebära ett utsättande av redan utsatta människor som får livsmedel omfördelade till sig, då de inte skulle kunna hålla någon ansvarig för potentiella skador. I slutändan är frågan politisk. Principens för- och nackdelar måste noggrant vägas mot varandra. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Airaksinen, Nadja LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20181
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
EU-rätt, livsmedelsdonationer, matsvinn, livsmedel, donationer, livsmedelsbank
language
Swedish
id
8941345
date added to LUP
2018-07-09 16:41:36
date last changed
2018-07-09 16:41:36
@misc{8941345,
  abstract     = {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.},
  author       = {Airaksinen, Nadja},
  keyword      = {EU-rätt,livsmedelsdonationer,matsvinn,livsmedel,donationer,livsmedelsbank},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Livsmedelsdonationer - Och hur lagstiftning bidrar till matsvinn},
  year         = {2018},
}