HomePackaging and MOCAGoodbye baskets of strawberries and salad ready? False alarm

Goodbye baskets of strawberries and salad ready? False alarm

The proposed EU regulation on packaging would make baskets of strawberries and even pre-packaged salad disappear from supermarket shelves, according to Coldiretti. Which thus launched yet another (false) 'unified network' alarm from the Tuttofood stage in Milan, on 8 May 2023.

Disposable food packaging, restrictions and prohibitions

The controversy of Coldiretti is addressed to the proposed EU regulation which aims to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of packaging. The PPWR project, Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, which as we have seen immediately garnered criticism from Italy.

The proposal of PPWR in fact provides for some restrictions on the use of packaging which include a series of prohibitions, including that of using disposable packaging to contain fresh fruit and vegetables in quantities of less than 1,5 kg (PPWR, article 22, Annex V) .

Baskets of strawberries and salads in bags, no prohibition

Contrary to what Coldiretti claims, the prohibition under exam does not apply to fresh fruit and vegetables that are placed in disposable packaging against the 'demonstrated need to avoid loss of water or turgor, microbiological risks or shocks'. And so:

– baskets of strawberries are excluded from the ban, precisely because they are necessary to protect the fruit from impacts that would cause food waste,

– salads washed and packaged in bags (fourth range) are excluded from the ban as they are ready for consumption and consequently exposed to microbiological risk,

– the same applies to washed, cut and packaged fruit (fifth range) for obvious food safety requirements.

Three carrots in a bowl

Restrictions contained in the PPWR proposal have instead the precise meaning of putting an end to the abuse of the packaging to wrap and sell small quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables, without any reason to do so.

The plastic trays containing three carrots or a couple of fennel, plastic nets for 5 lemons or 3 garlic bulbs, trays for green beans. Aberrations that have grown dramatically in recent decades to chase the myth of ease of purchase.

Farmers they should be the first to worry about the indiscriminate use of plastic, for two simple reasons:

– the price paid to farmers does not change if the carrots or fennel are placed in a useless tray,

– the microplastics that also derive from these abuses also contaminate water and soil, so much so that they penetrate fruit and vegetables, such as we have seen.

The issue of organic fruit and vegetables

Forego packaging for small quantities of fruit and vegetables it can instead become a serious problem for the sale of organic products, as explained by the great expert Roberto Pinton of IFOAM.

Organic food they can be sold in bulk, in fact, only in certified organic stores. Unless non-certified shops and supermarkets are able to clearly distinguish organic products from conventional ones.

To prevent the risk of seeing a collapse in sales of organic fruit and vegetables in non-certified shops is therefore thinking about innovative solutions, among which the branding of fruits with laser beams excels, already in use since 2016 in the Passi Countries (Nature & More) and then also in Germany (ECOMARK).

Packaging destined to burn in cement factories

'Banning small packaging makes sense. Strawberry trays, for example, are difficult to recycle because they are very light. They don't survive the sieving processes for recycling, they become waste confetti. Of course, they have a high energy potential, useful for powering cement factories or thermoelectric plants, at least until the energy is entirely from renewables', says Gianluca Bertazzoli of HUB15, environmental, waste management and extended producer responsibility consultant (EPR).

'Eliminate small packaging it is not a small problem, it is clear. But there's little that can be done if you want to affect the share of non-recyclable packaging, typically made of plastic. However, the problem is wider. In Italy there is a lot of discontent with this proposed regulation, because it is written ignoring the specificities of the objectively successful Italian model'. Unless it turns out to be unsustainable.

Italian opposition from the Italian bioplastics and recycling industries

The Italian opposition PPWR's proposal is already known and comes from the bioplastics and recycling industries. And it was picked up in one resolution approved in the Senate, on 19 April 2023, at the 4th standing commission for EU policies, on the basis of the hearings of the stakeholders.

Il cahier de sorrows once again invokes 'national sovereignty' over a matter, the protection of the environment, which is instead the subject of European legislation. After all, bioplastics can have far more useful applications than the banal model of consumption of disposable packaging.

Marta Strinati and Dario Dongo

Marta Strinati
+ posts

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

+ posts

Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

Related Articles

Latest Articles

Recent Commenti

Translate »