IATE term of the week: Food waste


This week’s chosen term from IATE is one that has recently received much attention from the media: food waste. It means the “removal from the food supply chain of food which is fit for consumption, by choice, or which has been left to spoil or expire as a result of negligence by the actor” (IATE definition). The actor can be the final consumer at home, commercial food producers and retailers or a gastronomic establishment. The EU project FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strategies, 2016) estimated that every year 88 million tons of food are wasted within the European Union. In conjunction with the waste of natural resources, this means also a financial loss of 143 billion euros. According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) the food currently wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people.

Besides the aspects of wasting resources and money, also ethical issues of global food security and distribution as well as ecological issues of “being produced to be thrown away” evolve from the concept behind our term of this week. To reduce these enormous figures several initiatives on national and international levels have recently been taken: just this past week Italy adopted a law to reduce their food waste by one fifth by simplifying donations and offering tax rewards to businesses which donate. Furthermore, Italy will encourage its restaurants to introduce ‘family bags’ (a newly created term to avoid the rather negative old term “doggy bags”) (see the BBC).

Another example for a law to prevent food waste was approved in France earlier this year: retailers with more than 400m² surface are now obliged to donate their unsold food that approaches its best-before date to charity organisations or food banks. On the level of the EU, the phenomenon is treated within the European Commission which assigned the FUSIONS project with this task. The project is aiming for a more resource-efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste. To raise awareness, the European Commission further declared the year 2014 to be the ‘European year of food waste’.

food waste IATEWe would welcome your contribution if you know the correct term in your language and it is among the missing ones or if it needs an update. A terminologist for the respective language will revise your answer and validate it. Given the implications of the process, a delay is to be expected.

Languages to be completed for this term in IATE: BG, CS, ET, GA, HR, HU, IT, LT, LV, MT, NL, PT, RO, SL, SV.[/su_note]

Written by Martina Christen

Study visitor at TermCoord

Student in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication


http://www.eu-fusions.org/phocadownload/Publications/Estimates%20of%20European%20food%20waste%20levels.pdf [8.8.2016]

http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/ [8.8.2016]

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36965671 [8.8.2016]

http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/food_waste/index_en.htm [8.8.2016]

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/04/french-law-forbids-food-waste-by-supermarkets [8.8.2016]