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Food Loss and Waste

Quality to prevent food loss and waste
Maintaining the quality of food traded from the farm to the shop through international best practice reduces losses, enhances the economic value of food trade, and opens income opportunities. UNECE has addressed the food loss challenge since 2013 – including in view of enhancing the circular economy in its member states. Through the constant review of its quality standards for agricultural produce traded internationally and nationally, we ensure that the quality of the produce used and traded is maintained along the entire supply chain. 

UNECE tools to combat food loss and waste

  • Code of Good Practice: Reducing food loss and ensuring optimum handling of fresh fruit and vegetables along the value chain (ECE/TRADE/470)
    What: The Code of Good Practice provides practical guidance on how to reduce losses and waste in fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains. With separate chapters for producers, traders, transporters and retailers, it is an easy to use resource for all actors in the sector.
    Why: The perishable nature of fresh fruit and vegetables mean that loss and waste can be high in supply chains unless the produce is handled carefully by all actors along the chain.
  • Simply Measuring - UNECE food loss and waste measuring methodology for fresh produce supply chains (ECE/TRADE/453)
    What: A simple methodology aimed to systematically measuring the food lost and wasted at several key points of the fresh produce supply chain. Building on existing methodologies used in assessments around the world and newly developed elements based on studies already carried out.
    Why: A simple methodology can help all to continuously record food losses along the supply chain and collect valuable data on production, sales and losses to prevent, reduce, repurpose and redistribute food that is currently lost.
  • Minimum Quality Specifications (MQS) for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables 
    French   Russian

    What: The UNECE Minimum Quality Specifications (MQS) for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (UNECE-MQS) developed by the Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables provide a simple trading language that is easy to apply.
    Why: The UNECE-MQS, when applied along the distribution chain, assure that the produce recipient will receive a product of marketable quality and suitable for human consumption, and that has all the necessary information about the product including country of origin. The use of the UNECE-MQS is voluntary, and it does not replace or compete with any existing standard or legal provision in any country.