By giving former foodstuffs a secondary destination in feed for food producing animals, former foodstuff processors manage to retain food losses in the food chain.

As can be seen in the “food and drink material hierarchy” developed by WRAP, the use of food to feed animals, once it can no longer be redistributed to people, is part of food waste reduction. Another point that comes forward from the hierarchy is the fact that valorising former foodstuffs into animal feed is by no means a form of waste treatment, as is the case for bioenergy and compost applications.

By offering food producers a consistent and sustainable outlet for their food losses as well as a non-land using alternative to grains for compound feed manufacturers, former foodstuff processors are an exceptional example of resource efficiency in the EU circular economy. If all estimated 5 million tonnes of former foodstuffs processed into animal feed in the EU would have to be replaced by for example wheat production, an approximate 350.000 hectares would be needed. Effectively, the use of former foodstuffs in animal feed enables the release of those hectares of grain production into primary food production.


EFFPA members fully support the responsibility of food producers to donate food to people in need and by no means wish to create competition with food banks. It may however occasionally happen that ‘food grade’ foodstuffs are used by former foodstuff processors due to logistical challenges the food banks cannot cope with. Food losses at factory level take form in irregular streams of high volumes of former foodstuffs where intermediate and finished products are generally delivered in the same container. The processing of these products requires extensive storage facilities, logistical manpower and flexibility. It sometimes even happens that food banks will have to reject large donations, for example five pallets of breakfast cereals, simply because of capacity challenges. 


Catering and household waste are foodstuff residues resulting from human consumption at catering facilities or people’s homes. The use of this food waste in animal feed for food producing animals, also known as swill feeding, is prohibited in the EU. EFFPA fully supports this ban dating from 2002 which aims to minimize the risk of transmission of animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and classical swine fever. Earlier outbreaks of these types of animal diseases have caused enormous losses to European farming communities in the past, likely due to bad feeding practices that didn’t guarantee safety and quality. In addition, the use of catering waste in animal feed can impossibly comply with the General Food Law’s traceability requirements and would be in conflict with the EU ban on intra-species recycling.