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  2. Sustainable Use of Resources
  3. Management of Food Waste
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Management of Food Waste

A page number:758-296-470

Last updated date:2019/9/13

While 80.88 million tons of food are distributed annually in Japan, it’s estimated that 27.59 tons of food-derived waste (including 10.23 million tons of valuables) are generated every year. Food that could have been eaten but is thrown out, or so-called “food loss,” is estimated to account for 6.43 million tons of this waste (All these estimates are for FY2016). This huge amount of food waste is equivalent to that of food consumed by the 13 million citizens of Tokyo every year.
 In the major consuming city of Tokyo, the issue of food waste needs to be addressed not only to reduce waste, but to be able to fully utilize precious food resources with minimal waste.

Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Meetings for Tokyo Style Food Waste Policy
In order to establish the Tokyo Style Reducing Food Waste Program so as to
halve food waste by 2030, TMG will conduct a survey on the current status
of food waste, hold stakeholder meetings in which we discuss ways to
avoid food waste, and encourage consumers to take action.

Difference between “best-by date” and “expiration date”
 All processed foods are marked with either a best-by date or an expiration date, but do you know the difference between them? An expiration date, which is shown on food products that spoil quickly, is the date by which the food can be consumed safely. Therefore, expired products should not be eaten for safety reasons.
 A best-by date, which is shown on products that can be stored for a long time, is the date by which the food is expected to maintain its best flavor. Therefore, even when products are past their best-by dates they can be eaten for a while, but you should check their appearance and smell to determine whether they are edible.

Commitments by business operators (promotion of food recycling)
To begin with, the generation of food waste, and food waste in particular, must be minimized. However, for food waste that is generated inevitably, it is important to recycle—rather than dispose or incinerate—in order to produce animal feed, fertilizer, methane gas, etc. In its Super Eco Town Project, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) is constructing food recycling facilities. Business operators are also working hard to develop food recycling loops (Recycling Business Plans) in which business operators will use animal feed and fertilizer made from their food waste to produce meat and vegetables for sale.

Commitments by business operators (revision of the“one-third rule”)
 
It is difficult to solve food waste and other issues caused by excess inventory and returned products through the separate efforts of individual companies. For this reason, under the initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, manufacturers wholesalers and retailers across the food chain have been collaborating since FY2012 to revise their business customs and address these issues. Among such business customs, the “one-third rule” in particular is believed to be a major cause of food waste. In this rule, the period starting from the production date of food products to the best-by date is divided into three shorter periods of roughly equal length. Food makers/wholesalers are required to deliver products within the first period, while retailers have to sell products within the second period. Demonstration is currently under way to change the rule to allow food makers/wholesalers to deliver products within the first half of the best-by date period, and examine the effect of the new rule on the reduction of returned products and food waste.

Commitments by TMG (effective utilization of food stocks for disaster preparedness)
 In FY2016, TMG, in cooperation with NGOs, started working on the effective utilization of cooked and dry packed rice and other emergency food stocks that are near or past their best-by date. Food stocks near their best-by date are provided to welfare facilities, while those past their best-by date are recycled as animal feed and the like. 
In January and December 2017, TMG distributed crackers and cooked and dry packed rice that were near their best-by date, which TMG had kept in stock for disaster preparedness, to citizens of Tokyo, welfare facilities, and others.

Document
*ダウンロードのリンク 新規ウインドウで開きます。Food Waste Mottainai Festa, March 21, 2018(PDF:210KB)

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